Jeremy Hill’s days of playing football in Cincinnati are very likely over.
During Marvin Lewis’ Monday afternoon press conference, the topic of Hill’s move to Injured Reserve was one of the first points of discussion. Hill was placed on IR on Saturday due to an ankle injury.
The injury was first revealed last Sunday when Hill was made inactive for the Bengals’ game against the Jaguars. Lewis said the injury occurred in practice the day prior to that game, though, Hill said he’d been dealing with it for some time.
With Hill on IR, the Bengals are left with just Joe Mixon and Giovani Bernard in their running back room. Tra Carson is already on IR and is not eligible to return from the list.
Apparently, the Bengals’ head coach isn’t convinced Hill was unable to play through the injury and said as much on Monday. Lewis said Hill felt he needed to have season-ending ankle surgery, though doctors didn’t think it was necessary for the surgery to occur immediately.
Marvin Lewis: Jeremy Hill felt the need to have ankle surgery. Several doctors thought he could wait until the end of the season, but he was feeling discomfort #WLWT— Derek Forrest (@DerekWLWT) November 13, 2017
Marvin Lewis said Jeremy Hill opted to have ankle surgery. Lewis was surprised. Team thought he could wait til end of the season.— Paul Dehner Jr. (@pauldehnerjr) November 13, 2017
Now, this is alarming for a few reasons, but mostly because Lewis is throwing his player under the bus. What’s the point in doing that? Even if Hill opted to undergo season-ending surgery earlier than necessary, is that really a talking point for the team’s head coach to share with the media?
Maybe Hill didn’t want to play for the Bengals anymore in the midst of a (currently) 3-6 season. Hill has remained the Bengals’ “starter” at running back, though he’d really only been playing the first offensive drive of each half.
This season, Hill has played and started in seven games and has accumulated 37 rushing attempts for 116 yards (3.1 yards per carry). This is Hill's first season without a touchdown after compiling 29 touchdowns in his first three years in the league.
Hill will become a free agent in 2018 and it’s likely he’ll have a new NFL home outside of Cincinnati by the time next season begins. If this is the end of the road for the Bengals and Hill, he finishes his career in Cincinnati with 54 games played, 704 rushes, 2,873 yards and 29 touchdowns. His wild card fumble from January 2016 will unfortunately be what many Bengals fans remember him for. Though, his 29 touchdowns were a very nice achievement and the 11 touchdowns he had during the Bengals’ 12-4 2015 season were a major component to that year’s success.
Honestly, I think Lewis can do better than throwing his players under the bus during press conferences.