Stephen Hill isn’t focused on the haters.
At least, that’s what he says.
The third-year receiver admitted Tuesday that his first two years in the NFL didn’t go as planned, but he’s not letting the pressure mount or the criticisms of his play distract him.
“I don’t care what anybody says,” Hill told reporters after the Jets’ first mandatory minicamp practice. “The only people I prove it to are my coaches and myself. Whatever people say doesn’t bother me. Whatever people say, that’s their opinion. But I’ve got to go out there, run the routes and catch the ball. So it’s all on me. I’m basically my biggest critic.”
Hill, a second-round pick in 2012, has missed nine games over the past two seasons due to injury. Asked for an assessment of his first two years in the league, he said: “They didn’t go as I planned, of course. I planned to be doing more than what I did. …(There was) a learning curve these last few years. I definitely should be able to break that and get on to things.”
But health is no longer a concern, Hill said.
At the moment, he’s focused on improving his route-running and making the most of opportunity he’s given. Hill, a Georgia Tech product, also refused to say whether he believes he’ll be named the Jets’ No. 2 starter.
Currently, their receiving corps is “as deep as we’ve had here in a long time,” said Rex Ryan. And at the end of training camp, the Jets coach said he hopes to have “six or so really good receivers.”
Slot receiver Jeremy Kerley was the team’s most reliable pass-catcher while Hill and Santonio Holmes were sidelined by injuries last season. But with David Nelson, the free-agent acquisitions of Eric Decker and Jacoby Ford and the additions of draft picks Jalen Saunders, Shaq Evans and Quincy Enunwa, it’s a little unclear how big of a role Hill will have in the Jets' offense.
But one thing is certain, according to Ryan.
Asked about his confidence level in Hill, the Jets coach replied: “He knows there’s nothing given.”