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Rookie diary: short leases and long days


The first installment of running back Jeremy Hill's rookie diary with

Camp has been an emotional roller coaster so far. A lot of success. A lot of mistakes. Just battling them day in and day out. Every play is a new learning experience.

When we left OTAs on June 18, I think I had a pretty good understanding of the offense. We tweaked a few things but we've got another month, which is about how long OTAs were. So I think I'll be where I need to be because that's right when the season kicks off.

I know the playbook. That's not the issue. It's having it become second nature. You're going against defenses that are big and fast and know what they're doing. Going against air, I can do that in my sleep. But I'm just focusing going against a defense and game speed.

I feel really good. We've got long days. We get here around seven, 7:30 and leave around 10. But My body feels good at 233 pounds. When we had our first day off, I wanted to make sure I rested. I pretty much stayed at my place and went through the playbook on my iPad and watched Netflix. I caught up on my installs and I'm watching "The Vampire Diaries."

I've been going against NFL guys my entire career. I've played against a lot of guys that got drafted high. There aren't many guys here that blew my mind with size and speed. But at the end of the day, they're still NFL players. They know what they're doing and they get paid very well for what they do. I have a lot of respect for those guys. It's great to go against a tough NFL defense because these guys are always ranked very high. Just learning from those guys what to do, what not to do, it will put me in position on Sundays to play well.

Growing up in Baton Rouge, it's an honor to play with left tackle Andrew Whitworth. Watching the Tigers every Saturday is nothing new to me and I remember him playing on LSU's national championship team. And it's an honor to pick his brain. On the first day in shoulder pads when we were going through pass protection, he gave me some advice I really needed.

He went through the intricacies where the linemen need the running backs' help with defensive ends rushing up field. He went over the technique I should use to help them protect Andy Dalton. That's the kind of advice you have to take into the next day.

Later in that practice in blitz pickup, they sent a corner blitz that kind of caught me by surprise when Terence Newman came in there. I should have taken a peek out there. I didn't and he got around the edge. That's going to happen. Our running backs coach, Kyle Caskey, talked to me about it. Just closing the distance, not letting them get as close to the quarterback. I'm going to have to get full reads on the field where I'm reading everybody. That way I can see it coming ahead of time.

That's what I mean. I'm learning something new every day. When Mike Brown, our owner, talked to us when camp opened, he talked about the history of the team, how it was founded in 1968, how they didn't have their own stadium at first. There was a lot of stuff I had no idea.

I had no idea that the Cleveland Browns were named after his father. That's definitely a cool thing. It shows the respect people have for them in the state of Ohio. Bengals-Browns is going to be a heated rivalry. Especially this year. I always watched this division. It's a great division and it was cool to hear the history of the team.

When I flew in here before the draft for a visit and they said we landed In Kentucky, I freaked out. I thought I had got on the wrong plane. I didn't know Ohio was that close to Kentucky. Now I live in Kentucky. It's so close to the stadium. People back home are shocked that I've got a Kentucky driver's license and playing football in Ohio.

I've got a seventh-month lease. You never know. Like when Trent Richardson got traded from Cleveland to Indianapolis in his second year in the league. You just have to protect yourself and be smart. Give myself some options. If I have a great season, that will open the doors for a lot of things.

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