Mike Hilton, Bill Belichick Left Impression On Each Other During One Week Together In 2016

Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Mike Hilton has spent time with arguably the top three teams in the AFC over the course of his young career. Prior to joining Pittsburgh’s practice squad late last season, he was originally signed as an undrafted free agent by the Jacksonville Jaguars.

When he was released by the Jaguars at the end of the preseason, the New England Patriots signed him to their practice squad, though he was only there for about a week. The team had acquired Eric Rowe via trade the day after signing him, and injuries at other positions further complicated the numbers game.

While he has already gotten to play against one former team—now as a starter for the Steelers—Hilton is hoping to come out of his second ‘revenge’ game, so to speak, with a win, as the Jacksonville game is one of just two the team has lost this season.

What he doesn’t have to worry about, however, is earning the respect of Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, who during a conference call with Pittsburgh reporters yesterday said that he is a player that would have liked to have kept if the numbers worked out.

According to Chris Adamski, Belichick described the Ole Miss product as “a very competitive player” who is “very smart, instinctive”. He said that he “loved working with him”, albeit for just a week, and that he “loved his attitude and toughness”.

The Patriots of course are not unfamiliar with finding quality cornerbacks among the undrafted ranks, as they have one in their starting lineup in the form of Malcolm Butler, who is in his fourth NFL season now and helped seal a Super Bowl win as a rookie with a game-ending goal-line interception.

Hilton appreciated Belichick’s remarks, commenting on them via Twitter. “Respect!”, he wrote, calling him “one of the best to coach the game”. Say what you will about the man, but he undeniably is just that, and even that may be an understatement.

But not everything Belichick touches turns to gold, nor is everything that he casts aside of low value. The Steelers are certainly glad that he couldn’t figure out how to make the numbers work a year ago, which prompted him to release him. Hilton spent months out of football unsigned before Pittsburgh came calling.

Known from his playing days in college paired with Senquez Golson, who was still a member of the team at the time, Hilton has basically come in and become exactly what the Steelers were hoping to have gotten in their 2015 second-round draft pick.

On the season, the first-year nickel cornerback has logged 48 tackles to go along with two interceptions, three passes defensed, and a sack. He has a number of tackles in the run game, and his one sack is not indicative of his overall effectiveness as a blitzer, and his sparse number of defended passes merely shows how generally infrequently he is targeted.

About the Author

Matthew Marczi
Passionate Steelers fan with a bit of writing ability. Connoisseur of loud music. Follow me on Twitter @mmarczi.
  • Conserv_58

    Mike Hilton and Sean Davis will be key in defending against Gronk.

  • hdogg48

    This guy gives new meaning to the term “diamond in
    the rough”.

  • SkoolHouseRoxx


  • falconsaftey43

    Not sure I want to see Hilton on Gronk he’s giving up like 9 inches and 70 lbs. Williams did well pressing Gronk at the line last year, maybe we’ll see some of that. Harder with Shazier out. Davis needs a bounce back game badly. Let’s hope someone can at least slow him down a little. He and the RBs are what scare me (if we don’t tackle, they’ll throw swing passes all game). I think Burns will do well taking away Cooks.

  • dhorst88

    I Agree. They will do what they always do…dink and dunk while our defense wiffs. So frustrating! Hopefully, it is different this year, but I am not holding my breath.

  • Cormel Bovan Sr.

    I wish we could have Brian Allen man up Gronk all game. Hes tall enough and fast enough to shut him down. The problem is Bill would find a way to have him matched up to Amendola or one of the backs and exploit him. You think we could sneak him in on him in obvious passing downs?

  • Junaid Mahmud

    Good point, We might need allen.

  • Junaid Mahmud

    It will most likely be Davis. If Brian allen had some experience I think we could have seen him on Gronk.

  • connfyoozed .

    Sometimes it’s all about being given the right opportunity at the right time. If another Patriot had gotten hurt during that week last season, we might never have heard of Mike Hilton, because who’s to say he would have ever gotten a shot in New England or anywhere else? All the talent and desire in the world doesn’t help if you don’t get the right chance.

  • Jon Crissinger

    Well Hogan is coming back just in time for another 180yd game.

  • Conserv_58

    Yeah I know. Hilton hitting Gronk is like a bug hitting a windshield. At least he could resemble a speed bump or ankle weight.

  • Conserv_58

    I expect Brady to go no huddle at times just to disrupt the Steelers’ rythm and catch them flat footed.

  • francesco

    So why aren’t we going for more PS players from the Patriots? To me this is a no brainer.

  • Omar Fahel

    Need to use Wilcox as the inside backer. He can hit and cover. 5 DBs 3 Line and 3 LB. That should be the base defense.

  • gdeuce

    Wilcox hasn’t seen a defensive snap in quite a while

  • LucasY59

    I said something similar about Allen earlier in the week, I am hoping they do something similar to the time they used a different rookie named Allen against the pats, Tez matched up pretty well on Gronk that game and Brian is a bit bigger/faster (plus has ball skills from previously playing WR) would love to see Allen play well against Gronk and maybe even get a pick

    that said, Im not sure it will happen

  • LucasY59

    need both of them to cover him, single coverage on Gronk is what fails all the time (and at least if there are supposed to be two guys on him that eliminates the times where somehow no one covers him…has happened more than once with the Steelers)

  • LucasY59

    With Gronk coming back I dont think Hogan will get the targets he got last time

  • Conserv_58

    Wilcox is a penalty making machine.

  • Conserv_58

    Please. Sean Davis is far better qualified to be in that position than a raw rookie with just a couple of years of CB experience in college.

  • Conserv_58

    Ya think? You’re preaching to the choir. You are right about Allen and anyone that thinks he is a viable option over Davis to cover Gronk is delusional.

  • Cormel Bovan Sr.

    I know as I said in the post I WISH we could because Allen size and speed makes a better match up but his experience would get him caught in a chess game were he’d get caught in anaudible where he’s now covering Amendola. Also Sean Davis did not fair to well against Gronk last time either. Read the whole post next time lol.