As expected, the NFL has suspended Seahawks linebacker Leroy Hill one game for violating the league’s substance abuse policy. Per the Associated Press, the league also has fined Hill a game check, over and above the suspension.
He’ll miss the season opener against the 49ers.
Hill was arrested in January 2009 for marijuana possession. He pleaded guilty earlier this year, receiving 12 months of probation and setting the stage for a league-imposed sanction.
Based on his $6 million guaranteed base salary for 2010, Hill will lose more than $700,000.
At one point in the offseason, it appeared that the Seahawks were keeping Hill away from offseason workouts in the hopes that a suspension would invalidate the guaranteed salary, permitting him to be cut without consequence. It later was determined that Hill’s agent negotiated a specific provision into his contract preventing the guarantee from being voided based on a suspension arising from the substance abuse policy — a prudent but fairly obvious move, given that Hill was arrested before he signed his current contract.
Hill still has other issues that could result in even more game checks being lost. Arrested for domestic violence less than a month after being placed on probation, Hill was in court on that charge this week, and he’s due back next week. Apart from the obvious jeopardy the situation creates for his probation, the situation could result in a violation of the Personal Conduct Policy — and further punishment from the league.
Previously, the going rate for marijuana possession was a one-game suspension. It’s possible that other players also were fined, and that this detail either wasn’t noticed or reported.