Shaun Hill would prefer backup role with Lions to being an unhappy starter elsewhere

Posted Jan 12, 2012

After Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford suffered a shoulder injury in a season-opening loss to the Bears in 2010, Shaun Hill showed up for practice the following Wednesday as the team’s new starter.

While Hill was warming up, Lions head coach Jim Schwartz walked over to him to have a little chat.

“Coach Schwartz came up to me and said, 'Hey, even if you go 4-0, Matthew is starting when he’s ready,'" Hill remembers of the conversation. "I said, ‘I know and that’s okay.’”

Hill is well aware that Stafford sits atop the organization’s quarterback hierarchy.

“I completely understand what the pecking order is here and I’m fine with that,” he said. “I understand exactly what my roll is and I accept it. It doesn’t necessarily mean I rest. I still try to get better and improve.”

Hill, 32, will be a free agent this offseason and will have to decide if he wants to return to the Lions as a backup or pursue an opportunity to compete for a starting job somewhere else.

“If there is a situation and a possibility to start somewhere then I would certainly have to look heavily into it,” he said. “But it’s not worth it to me to go start somewhere and be unhappy. I’ve been through it and I’m not going to do it again.”

Hill was referring to his last few seasons with the 49ers from 2007-09 when the team constantly flip-flopped starters, including Hill.

“I’ve been in situations where it was never clearly defined who the starting quarterback was week-to-week throughout a season,” Hill said. “I’m done with that.

“It’s actually one of the nice things about here. If it’s going to be a backup job somewhere, I don’t think there will be any other organization that is as close to winning it all and I highly doubt it’ll be a situation where I enjoy the work environment as much as I do here.”

The Lions will have to make a few decisions of their own regarding Hill.

Do they feel Drew Stanton is ready to assume a backup role and do they want to give him a shot at it? Are they interested at all in getting another young quarterback to develop?

“There is a lot can happen,” Hill said. “I would certainly like to be back here. My two years here, I’ve really enjoyed coming to work and the people I work with. This organization has been great and this locker room has been tremendous.

“I would like to be back and obviously I hope they want me back. It’s going to be hard to find a better fit for me than this one.”