To wrap up the LeRoy Hill news, the TNT was kind enough to post a transcript from a Q&A session with Tim Ruskell from yesterday.
As you would imagine, the Hawks didn't franchise Hill just to keep him here for the year:
Q: Are you hoping for a Marcus Trufant kind of situation? That you tag him and eventually you get him to sign?
Ruskell: We want to get Leroy done to a long-term deal. We do. That’s our goal.
How did Ruskell see Hill's offseason incident?
Ruskell: It did shake me. I was surprised, and I told Leroy that. It just seemed out of character. And as he said to you guys, he was disappointed in himself and embarrassed. And wants to get his name back, because he does a lot of things with kids, not only in the Seattle area, but in the Atlanta area where he’s from. And that’s just hard, right? So in addition to being a great player he wants to get that back, and he knows he’s made a mistake. But I had to see him face-to-face and hear that from him and see that sincerity, which I saw, and other people saw, including Jim Mora. That was very important.
Ruskell, being Ruskell, cares a good deal about character. However as we saw after Lofa Tatupu got a DUI last spring, Tim is willing to forgive isolated incidents. Handling these player issues with consistency sets a good standard for the organization as a whole.
With the combine upon us, Tim Ruskell also handled a few questions related to the draft, and I wouldn't want to rob you of that.
Q: You’ve said the last couple years because you’ve drafted as low as you have, there’s certain tier players you’re just not going to get.
Ruskell: We try to stay true to our grading system. “Okay, he’s gone. Here’s the next five. Put those guys up there Get ‘em right. Now let’s take the next guy. And I think at four, our strategy is – and I talked to you guys about this the last time we were together – you’ve got to get the most impact guy for your football team. You can’t get focused on the darn need, that’s when you make a mistake. Now, when they sync up that’s great. But it’s too tempting to say, “Well, we need a defensive lineman. Oh, look at that, he just happens to be right here.” You have to fight that urge and make sure is that the most impactful player at four? Is that the next best player?
For what it's worth, Ruskell also hinted that the team is in the timeframe where finding the next quarterback makes sense. The skill position guys get on the podium today, so Doug Farrar will have some interesting thoughts later on the QB's.