Troy Hill has big goals to pay back the Youngstown community he needed to flee to help other kids in need
Troy Hill flashed a smile every time the camera popped. He talked glowingly about a dream fulfilled. He was back home — or at least really close to it — as the newest member of the Cleveland Browns.
Two days later, Hill bowed his head and said his final goodbye to his half brother, Vincent. Though they didn't talk all that often when Hill was on the other side of the country as a star defensive back for the Los Angeles Rams, Hill and Vincent always picked up right where they left off whenever they came together. Just like old times.
Vincent, at the age of 44, succumbed to cardiac arrest March 17, the same day Hill's phone was buzzing non-stop with the first official offers of his free agency. Hill agreed to terms with the Browns on March 19 and was in Berea just a couple of days later to officially put pen to paper.
"I didn't know if I was supposed to be happy," Hill said. "It was just a bunch of different mixed emotions going through my head.
"At one point, I remember telling my other brother I just feel empty right now. I know it's a bigger picture but I felt like he was supposed to be here to witness this."
It was a whirlwind week that ended with a sobering reminder of all the adversity Hill has faced to reach this point — the top option in the slot on a remade Browns defense that has big ambitions for 2021 — and how it continues to shape him as he enters a new stage of not just his career, but also his life.
"You look at it in chapters or quarters," Hill said. "I had adversity in every single quarter and I overcame that to get to where I'm at now. It shaped me to become a man in a situation where I don't really get fazed or worry about things that don't really matter.
"The adversity in the trials and tribulations I went through, I don't really show panic anymore. Everybody's got stories but I feel like my story really helped me become who I am today."