Monday, September 10, 2012
Hill loses lunch, wins praise
By Rich Cimini
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- That was a sick performance by Stephen Hill in his first NFL game. And we do mean sick.
Turns out that the rookie wide receiver, when he wasn't catching passes and scoring touchdowns, was puking on the bench. Hill apparently played the game with a bit of a bug.
"He got sick a couple of times on the sideline," Rex Ryan said Monday. "He showed that toughness, which you knew he had."
Hill's performance came out of nowhere. After a shaky preseason in which he dropped three passes, the second-round pick from Georgia Tech caught five passes for 89 yards and two touchdowns. He became only the fifth player in the last 25 years to record two receiving touchdowns in his first game, according to ESPN Stats & Information. The others: Alex Smith (Bucs, 2005), Anquan Boldin (Cards, 2003), Charles Rogers (Lions, 2003) and Randy Moss (Vikings, 1998).
"This guy is ahead of where most rookie receivers are," Ryan said.
Ryan recalled a draft-day moment, when someone in the war room asked WRs coach Sanjay Lal, "If we draft this player, will he be ready for Buffalo?" Lal promised Hill would be ready.
After Buffalo, Lal remembered that moment and told GM Mike Tannenbaum: "I told you he'd be ready for Buffalo."
Hill was the Jets' first rookie receiver to start in Week 1 since Wayne Chrebet in 1995. Here's how prominent Jets receivers fared in their first game:
Rob Moore, 1990 -- 4 catches, 35 yards
Wayne Chrebet, 1995 -- 3 catches, 43 yards
Keyshawn Johnson, 1996 -- 1 catch, 50 yards
Santana Moss, 2001 -- 0 catches, 0 yards
Laveranues Coles, 2000 -- 0 catches, 0 yards