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Saints TE Josh Hill flattered by Sean Payton's praise, but still driven

3/31/2015

New Orleans Saints tight end Josh Hill said it was “flattering” to hear coach Sean Payton sing his praises last week at the NFL owners meetings. But the third-year pro insisted, “it doesn’t change anything.”

Hill promised to keep approaching things like he did when he first entered the NFL as an undrafted rookie out of Idaho State two years ago.

“Just always have that chip on your shoulder that somebody came in thinking you couldn’t play. Couldn’t make it,” Hill said Tuesday.

Hill spoke to various media outlets, including NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune and The New Orleans Advocate, while visiting students at Ethel Schoeffner Elementary School in Destrehan, Louisiana.

Hill’s role is expected to expand this year in the wake of the Saints trading tight end Jimmy Graham to the Seattle Seahawks. The 6-foot-5, 250-pounder has played only sparingly on offense so far, but he’s made the most of it with 14 catches for 176 yards and five touchdowns last year.

Payton raved about Hill's potential and natural athleticism last week. Payton has always praised Hill for his versatility as a core special-teams player who can catch passes, block and even line up at fullback at times.

“It might open a few other opportunities for me as I try to continue to grow in my role,” Hill said. "We’ll see where it goes from there. I don’t think I feel too much pressure. I try to have the same mentality and do what they ask me to do. That’s it. …

“There’s a lot of different things I can get better at. It’s just about the details and understanding what they want me to do, different things they want me to do in the future.”