New York Jets news, commentary and insider info from beat writer Kimberley A. Martin.
Hill gets help from Testaverde
After years of playing video games using Vinny Testaverde's likeness, Stephen Hill finally got a chance to meet -- and work out with -- the Jets legendary quarterback this past offseason.
And according to Hill, Testaverde -- who holds the NFL record for most consecutive seasons with at least one touchdown pass (21) -- still has some moves.
“Oh, he still throws it,” the Jets second-round pick said with a big smile. “He still moves. I don’t think he’s as fast as he was back then, but he still moves very well.”
Hill spent the offseason working out at IMG Academies in Bradenton, Fla., where Testaverde also instructs high school players. Testaverde, who spent seven of his 21 professional years with the Jets , took some time to throw a couple of passes Hill’s way and also gave the new Jet some much-needed advice on surviving his first NFL season.
“He gave me a lot of tips,” Hill said during his introductory press conference with the media Saturday morning. “How to get in and out of breaks. Starting as a rookie, he said ‘Just be a rookie and be a pro.’ Stay in your place, really.”
A polished Hill impressed the media on hand with his camera-ready personality and his maturity. Asked why he chose to wear a suit and tie to his pre-draft meeting with the Jets three weeks ago (when most college athletes choose to don sweats), Hill gave a simple, but telling answer.
“This is actually your job,” he said.
The Jets traded up from the 47th pick to the 43rd -- and in the process gave up a fifth round and seventh round selection to Seattle -- in order to grab Hill, a guy they think has the speed and quick hands to be the next Calvin “Megatron” Johnson. The Georgia Tech product couldn’t help but agree with the assessment -- but he also drew his own “old school” comparison: Jerry Rice.
Only time will tell if Hill will be a phenom, but the Jets are confident they’ve got a worthy No. 2 receiver at their disposal. The 6-4, 215-pound wideout said on Friday night he spoke to Mark Sanchez, who talked a little about the playbook and his expectations for his newest target.
“He’s ready to go,” Hill said of the Jets starting quarterback. “He’s excited and I’m excited too. I’m going to make sure I get in with Tim Tebow cause I know there’s going to be a little bit of change going there.”
After arriving at the facility on Saturday, Hill met with coaches to discuss their own expectations of him as well. He also received his playbook, but said he plans to look through it on Sunday.
Hill impressed scouts with his unexpected 4.3-second 40-yard dash time, but some questioned whether the wideout would be able to make the transition to the NFL given Georgia Tech’s limited passing attack.
Hill said he expects he’ll have to “fight” for a receiving job with Jets, but was confident adjusting to the NFL route tree won’t be too difficult. According to him, the only difference between the route tree at Georgia Tech and the NFL is the Yellow Jackets’ was “deeper.”
“I’ve been away from school for four months, so I did a lot of transitioning,” said Hill, who trained with with quarterbacks Ryan Tannehill (who was selected eighth overall by Miami), Russell Wilson and Kirk Cousins this past offseason. “Especially going down to IMG campus. And we’ve been working hard, six days a week. So it’s really not a big transition. The only transition is playing faster and playing against great guys.”
Karen and Henry Hill said after the Jets called their son on Friday night, Stephen hung up the phone and looked at them and said: “I’m ready to work.”
Hill also said he's excited about going against cornerback Darrelle Revis during practice.
"It's going to make me better," he said of facing Revis, whom he called one of the best in the game.