Carolina Panthers

Drug citation alone won’t keep Panthers WR Stephen Hill off roster

Carolina Panthers wide receiver Stephen Hill still has every chance to make the roster despite a citation this week for possession of drug paraphernalia.
Carolina Panthers wide receiver Stephen Hill still has every chance to make the roster despite a citation this week for possession of drug paraphernalia. AP

Despite a citation for drug paraphernalia this week, Carolina Panthers wide receiver Stephen Hill has every opportunity to make the final roster, team general manager Dave Gettleman said Tuesday.

Hill, a third-year receiver and former second-round pick, was cited Tuesday at a stop in Concord for possessing two grinders with marijuana residue and a marijuana bowl. Hill also admitted to the officer that he had smoked marijuana at his home earlier in the day, Concord Police Maj. Wilhelm told the Observer Thursday.

Wilhelm said Hill was only cited and not arrested because he showed no signs of impairment at the stop.

Hill spoke with Gettleman Thursday morning “at length” as he reported to Panthers’ training camp at Wofford College.

“He is obviously very remorseful for what happened,” Gettleman said. “He’s a terrific kid. He’s given us no indication since he’s been with us since September that this is who he is. He was very professional and he handled it very well. Right now we’re just going to let it go through the legal process.”

Gettleman said the best 53 players will make the final roster when asked if the citation would hurt Hill’s chances. Panthers coach Ron Rivera agreed.

“It doesn’t affect (his chances),” Rivera said. “I know there are situations and circumstances that we will let play out and see how things go. But as far as that’s concerned, he’ll have to deal with that process and we’ll react to that. But we’ll let the process take care of itself. We’ve got a job to do … it’s a mistake, he made a mistake and he knows it.”

A 6-foot-4, 215-pound receiver, Hill had a disappointing first two years in the NFL with the Jets. The Panthers signed him to their practice squad last September, and he stayed there for the rest of the season.

Hill stood out in organized team activities and minicamp, and he comes to training camp fighting for one of the final receiver spots on the 53-man roster.

Jonathan Jones: 704-358-5323, @jjones9

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