ALBEMARLE — A former West Stanly football star, NC State standout, and now Cincinnati Bengals starting defensive tackle with Super Bowl LVI credentials received a big payday on Monday.
On the first day of NFL free agency, Oakboro native B.J. Hill reportedly re-signed with Cincinnati, inking a three-year, $30 million contract extension that includes $15 million in the first year.
The 26-year-old third-round pick from the 2018 draft (69th overall) played three years with the New York Giants but was traded just before the start of last season. Hill’s first campaign with the Bengals led to an eye-catching playoff performance in the AFC championship game against the Kansas City Chiefs.
Five months to the day after being traded from New York for backup center Billy Price (and a future draft pick), Hill recorded four tackles along with a game-changing interception of Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes.
Although Hill started just two games during the 2021 regular season, he posted a career-high 50 tackles and 5.5 sacks during that time; Hill paid his dues and went on to start three of the Bengals’ four playoff games where he recorded 13 tackles and 1.5 sacks.
It was a true return to form for the defensive lineman who started 12 games with 5.5 totals sacks in his rookie year but was limited to just five combined starts and a pair of sacks during his next two seasons.
Hill’s rise to prominence mirrored the local recognition he received in his hometown.
Back on Feb. 7, the Stanly County Board of Commissioners publicly declared a county-wide “B.J. Hill Day” designated for Feb. 13, the same day that the former West Stanly Colt would eventually notch three tackles in a 23-20 Super Bowl loss to the Los Angeles Rams. Hill took 78% of the snaps in that matchup as the Rams were held to just 1.9 yards per 23 rushes.
The official proclamation honoring Hill was presented by Commissioner Bill Lawhon, who read a letter to a crowd featuring some of Hill’s family members.
“The Stanly County Board of Commissioners celebrates former West Stanly High School football standout B.J. Hill, who now plays in the National Football League for the Cincinnati Bengals as a defensive tackle,” Lawhon stated. “The Board is extremely proud of B.J. and his representation of Stanly County and hereby recognizes his hard work and accomplishments.”
The proclamation continued: “The board wishes B.J. and his teammates the best of luck as they compete in the Super Bowl; now therefore the Stanly County Board of Commissioners does hereby proclaim February 13, 2022, as ‘B.J. Hill Day’ in Stanly County, NC, and commends its observance to all citizens in recognition of the extraordinary achievements of B.J. Hill.”