Hill ‘excited to get back to work’ with Bengals

Cincinnati Bengals' B.J. Hill reacts after a tackle during the second half of an NFL football game against the San Francisco 49ers, Sunday, Dec. 12, 2021, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Aaron Doster)

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Cincinnati Bengals' B.J. Hill reacts after a tackle during the second half of an NFL football game against the San Francisco 49ers, Sunday, Dec. 12, 2021, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Aaron Doster)

Defensive lineman signs three-year deal with Cincinnati

B.J. Hill wanted to return to the Cincinnati Bengals, regardless of what other opportunities might have surfaced in free agency. He got what he wanted, and probably a little more.

The Bengals announced they re-signed Hill to a three-year contract, ensuring the team doesn’t have to completely rebuild their interior pass rush with Larry Ogunjobi set to sign with the Bears. Hill was set to become an unrestricted free agent at the start of the new league year at 4 p.m. Wednesday, but Cincinnati couldn’t afford to let both players go.

A sourceconfirmed Hill signed a contract worth $10 million, a big increase from the standard four-year, $4 million rookie deal he was on previously.

“It’s a blessing, for sure,” Hill told reporters in a news conference Tuesday at Paul Brown Stadium. “This is where everything just worked out last year. I prayed for a lot of patience and just to ‘be patient, everything’s going to work out,’ and everything’s worked out and folded up perfectly. You know, it’s really a blessing to be back here to sign with a great group of guys, great coaches and I’m excited to get back to work.”

Originally a third-round pick of the N.Y. Giants in 2018, Hill came to the Bengals in a trade last August that sent Billy Price to N.Y.

It was a good move for the Bengals, Hill totaled 50 tackles and 5.5 sacks (fourth most on the team) during the regular season and added 13 tackles, 1.5 sacks and an interception in the playoffs, appearing in 20 of 21 total games with five starts.

“We’re excited to get B.J. back in the mix,” Bengals coach Zac Taylor told reporters Tuesday. “He’s a guy who’s been here for six months, but he’s one of those guys that feels like he’s been here for six years. And when you just interact with him, he’s exactly all the things that we say we want to be about, a guy who’s consistent every single day, he’s the same person every time he walks in the building. You know what you’re going to get with B.J. Hill and he really exemplifies what we want from our defense, and that’s in one word, relentless. And when you watch this guy play, he’s on every single snap. And so really glad it worked out, good to get him back in the mix and know he’s happy to be back. And so it really worked out well for us.”

While Hill was a solid rotational piece during the regular season, his worth never showed more than in the playoffs after Ogunjobi injured his foot in the wild card round, pushing Hill into a starting role for the final three games.

Hill was hoping his production would be enough to earn his second contract, and the Bengals were able to reward him.

“You never know, I could (have ended) up somewhere else, but deep down I knew I wanted to be back here because I knew it was special here -- special coaches, special players, special D-line,” Hill said. “And I definitely wanted to be back. I was telling people, I’m going back to Cincinnati, I want to be back here and that was my goal and that was my main priority to be back here.”

Hill says he is “a cheap guy” so he hasn’t planned any big purchases on his new salary except to buy a house in Cincinnati. He arrived in the Queen City last August in such a whirlwind and didn’t know where he would wind up six months later when his contract was expiring.

Now he is focused on getting ready for the 2022 season and a chance to complete unfinished business after the Bengals came up just short of the L.A. Rams in the Super Bowl. That also played into his desire to return.

“That’s the main goal is to win the Super Bowl,” Hill said. “We had a great group of guys last year. I wanted to be back to this special place with a special group of guys, and that was my goal. And I feel like we can. We got a chance to run it back and finish it.”

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