I'm relatively new to Reddit. I have a couple things that could be fun to talk about. Concussions and their evolving role in football have become a huge hot button issue. I was a founding member of the NFLPA Traumatic Brain Injury Committee, had my career ended by concussions, and now serve as an advocate on the issue.

I'm also President of OverDog, a start-up with a Kickstarter running right now:


We are building a platform to connect athletes and fans through video games and looking for beta users thru Kickstarter. Please back us for immediate access to all our athletes.

My proof is on my Twitter handle, also @hthill. I will be back at 3:00est to start answering questions. Ask me anything!

Thanks to everyone for all the input today. I will try to answer a couple more of these later, so check back in if I didn't get to your question. Please share our Kickstarter to fellow fans and thru your social networks. Thanks again for all the great questions!!

Comments: 126 • Responses: 19  • Date: 

MLBM10045 karma

Hey Hunter, I just wanted to say that I am a HUGE Bears fan (shoutout to all the beautiful peeps at /r/CHIBears!) and I was excited to find out that you were doing this.

What would you say was the hardest part of adapting to life after your football career was over? If given the chance, would you go back to the NFL or are you just over that phase of your life? Could you beat me in FIFA?

Bear Down!

hthill45 karma

Love the /r/ChiBears shoutout. Bears fans are EVERYWHERE. I love that.

For me, the two things I miss the most are the guys and the games. I was never a guy who defined himself as a football player, so in many respects, that makes leaving the game behind a lot easier. I spend a lot of time trying to help get former players better access to the support they need to improve their quality of life after football. Its a strange beast to "retire" at 30. Many guys have a hard time reinventing themselves, trying to find a new passion when they feel washed up at such a young age. Combine that with having a salary going from 7 figures to 5, and the adjustments are a lot for some guys to handle all at once.

You'd probably get me in FIFA, but its one of my favorite games right now. Go sign up on Kickstarter and we can find out!

will65019 karma

Thanks for doing this AMA, Hunter! What do you think about some of the proposed rule changes for the 2013 season such as penalizing peel back blocks/leading with the helmet outside of the tackle box, eliminating the “Tuck Rule” and labeling the long snapper as a defenseless player?

hthill30 karma

That's about 5 questions in one. The running back rule is the most controversial, but do note that its pretty much only running backs who are speaking out. As a defensive guy, I am biased to think that rules increasingly favor the offense, for revenue reasons more than safety reasons. That makes me prone to supporting the crack back rules.

I attended the Competition Committee meeting four of five years in a row at the Combine. It was kind of a joke. Nothing got decided there, but it gave the committee the power to say they had "player input." Even having seen the plumbing, I still have no idea how they decide what becomes rule and what doesn't.

saxysugar1418 karma

Hey Hunter, as a big Bears fan I'd like to know during your time with the team who your favorite teammate was and what your favorite game was. Thanks!

hthill29 karma

Your closest buddies usually fall into two groups, your rookie class and your position group. From my rookie class, the only two left are Briggs and Tillman. Both are good friends. We all kind of grew up together, from wild young rookies to suburban guys with kids who have "nice little Saturdays" with the fam.

Other good buddies include the rest of the linebacker, Roach, Urlacher, and a bunch of guys who aren't there anymore like Todd Johnson, Cam Worrell, etc.

temporalparts16 karma

Welcome to Reddit!

I'm a Huge fan and a long time Chicago Bears Fan.

Here are my questions:

  • 1. What's your favorite moment with the Chicago Bears? (My favorite play of yours: http://youtu.be/82OomPdW-Zo)
  • 2. Would you have done anything differently in your career?
  • 3. As you know, a fellow Vanderbilt graduate and Chicago Bear is getting married this Summer. As his wedding gift, Reddit's Chicago Bears community /r/CHIBears is raising money for his charity. Could you tweet it out or otherwise help spread the word? This is the link to our fundraiser: http://www.crowdrise.com/JCFoundationByRedditCHIBears

Thank you for your time!

hthill19 karma

1) Yeah, that was a fun one, but kind of a meaningless game in the grand scheme. I had a few big plays against New Orleans in the NFC Championship that I'd say would top that on my memory list.

2) I get asked that a lot on the context of concussions. I won't go too deep on this, but it would be tough, knowing what I know now, as a senior in college (or even a senior in high school) to still choose to play ball. I usually propose the same question back to people: if somebody offered you millions of dollars, but the cost was your quality of life after age 50, is it worth it? There's no right answer, but that is kind of becoming the trade off facing NFL athletes.

3)will do

deadgreg13 karma

Everybody seems to hate Jay Cutler, except his teammates and coaches. What was your experience like being around him?

hthill43 karma

I've known Jay since he was a freshman at Vandy. I've kinda watched him grow up. He's always had this brash resistance to authority. I think its funny how polarizing his indifference towards his public perception has been. Maybe not haha funny, but an interesting social experiment or something.

I've never really called him out about it, despite us being friends. I do have to think at some point, with so much criticism, he has to wonder what the point in trying to please everyone is if he's gonna take heat regardless. I also think he could own Chicago if he'd just give the city an inch. I think he has made a lot of steps in the right direction. Anybody who listened to his show on ESPN1000 knows he's a funny guy, maybe a little sarcastic, but generally pretty easy going off the field.

I tend to think his competitiveness gets mistaken for a-holeishness because he hasn't won the big one yet. Does he crossover that threshold if he gets a ring?

biasedatbest11 karma

Hey Hunter, huge fan! What are your thoughts on the Bears' offseason moves thus far? Also, do you think they should re-sign Brian Urlacher?

hthill15 karma

I had a feeling the 54 question would come up. I hope they resign him, but I have no idea where all that stands. I know Brian would love to stay, but at some point he (and the Bears) have to do what's best for them.

I feel like he's got plenty of football left in the tank if he decides to return, but finding the right scheme, coach, culture, etc can all be tricky. I just hope he doesn't end up somewhere else in the NFC North. That would not end well for anyone.

Aeuthentic10 karma

Thanks for doing the AMA, Hunter.

Do you feel that the Bears are on the right path to becoming an annual superbowl contender?

hthill21 karma

Yikes, keep in mind I am a big Lovie fan, so I'm acknowledging my bias. My happiest day with Emery was day 1 of free agency. We all knew he was super diligent and analytical. I feared we could see some paralysis by analysis. Him going out and jumping on two huge free agents that were areas of need for the Bears was great to see. He acted swiftly and decisively. I wasn't sure he had that in him.

I have no opinion on Trestman. Lots of smart people tend to think very highly of him. It will be funny if the offense finally finds consistent success and we start to realize just how much the excellence of the defense was taken for granted. Its is almost impossible to be elite on both sides of the ball in a salary cap league.

JeremyNJ19849 karma

What do you think of the new Kickoff rule proposed by Roger Goodell of teams that score TDs getting the ball at their own 30 and its 4th and 15? Do you think it would have the intended impact of reducing concussions?

hthill11 karma

I don't think that is the right solution, but I applaud looking for creative ways like this to make the game safer. The Illinois legislature has a law coming up for vote next week about eliminating offseason practices and hitting during youth and high school preseasons. I'm a proponent of anything like that can makes people safer without having to change football so much that the game becomes unrecognizable.

tsaortop9 karma

The draft is coming up, so here's a draft question or two. There are still some positions that seem to need addressing. Do you draft a MLB or an OL with the 20th pick of the draft? Also, I have heard a ton of different things surrounding the linebackers in the draft. Which LB would you choose and why?

Thanks for doing the AMA.

hthill14 karma

I'd still go O-line. While Brian has always been a dominant MLB, the 4-3 scheme doesn't require a huge difference maker at that spot (which is why I was able to get the job done when Brian was out). Great o-linemen are still the most scarce thing in the NFL. If we have a chance to get one, we should do it.

DMelt197 karma

Two questions, Hunter, one on the past and one on the present.

Was Cedric Benson as disliked in the Bears locker room as it was rumored to be? It felt like, after a real pro in Thomas Jones left the team, there was some genuine animosity against him.

Regarding concussions, do you think it's possible to revamp the way middle/high school coaches teach fundamentals in order to help change the prevailing use of helmets as missiles in making tackles?

Thanks for doing this, and thank you for that wonderful 2006 season. It was a joy to watch.

hthill16 karma

Not to throw anyone under the bus, but Cedric didn't do himself any favors. I won't go as far as to say he was a bad guy, but he really seemed to think the world was out to get him.

You can behave like he did if you are a baller. Cedric was a big waste of money for the Bears. A 4th pick in the draft, and a RUNNING BACK (which rarely happens) is supposed to be a future Hall of Fame kind of guy. That Cedric was just a run of the mill running back with a chip on his shoulder was a recipe for disaster.

Sniper11547 karma

Were you and your teammates aware of the dragons Rex Grossman was unleashing week in and week out?

hthill6 karma

Huh? Please explain

Cardsfan15397 karma

If you omit and add one rule into the NFL, what would it be?

hthill13 karma

I would make cut blocks illegal. That would be the rule I'd add. I guess I would omit the automatic first down part of defensive holding and hands to the face. Nothing ticks me off more than some ticky-tac penalty on 3rd-30 giving a 5 yd penalty and automatic 1st down!!

Cardsfan15396 karma

What was it like playing along side future HOFers like Brian Urlacher and (maybe) Lance Briggs?

Any great mimi-camp stories from your playing days?

hthill24 karma

I have a couple great "this is your life in the NFL" kind of moments. Its funny how other than some of those highlights, most pro athletes lead pretty mundane lives. LOTS of NFL guys are total homebodies.

OK, my favorite story was in 2005, we clinched the NFC North in like Week 11 by beating the Vikings. In the locker room after the game, we were trying to plan our dinner that night for our annual "linebacker night." Urlacher decided that because we were rolling along so well, we needed to celebrate in style. He chartered a plane, the whole LB room flew to Vegas that night, and stayed in this ridiculous villa at the Bellagio. Urlacher stands out everywhere, even Vegas, so that was a really over the top couple of days, not in any illicit kind of way, but just in a "I can't believe I'm sharing bottle service with Kid Rock and Rihanna" kind of way. I'm a pretty normal dude, so those moments were always a little hilarious to me.

crapazoid6 karma

What was the hardest hit you ever took in a game? Do some hits feel worse/better than they look on TV?

hthill15 karma

I had a head to head hit with Panthers fullback Brad Hoover in the playoff game in 2005 that knocked us both out of the game. What a miserable end to the season, concussed and out of the playoffs after such a great year.

amm08f6 karma

What team were you most excited to play against whenever they were on your schedule?

Who was your least favorite opposing player that got you all riled up over your 8 years in the league?

hthill10 karma

I always liked big home games the best (Packers, playoff games). The routine of a home game was very Pavlovian. Starting at 8:03 (my alarm time for a noon game) I could usually tell you where I'd be til kickoff within a minute or two. I'm pretty sure I still could.

bmanor886 karma

Are you working with the Harvard Medical team that is pairing with the NFLPA to study concussions?

Also, what defensive scheme(s) did you hate playing against the most?

hthill7 karma

I'm not directly involved, but I'd say I have influence over the group of people who direct that money. The NFLPA and the league office will both stay very active in making sure the money is helping to drive the most promising research. You can't do that by just giving one group $100mm. I think the plans is for Harvard to be the hub with several spokes focusing on different solutions. The most promising solutions get more funding. That seems like a good way to ensure the money finds the right causes.

BaconWithThat5 karma

OverDog looks pretty cool. What is your favorite game and what game would you personally like to see added to the OverDog lineup, but perhaps didn't think there would be a big enough market for?

Also, what about crossovers to real life competition? I would love to school Rex Grossman in foosball or have Kyle Orton destroy me and my liver in a friendly game of "who can drink the most whiskey".

hthill9 karma

I'm a Madden and CoD guy, though, honestly, with a second kid on the way any day and a full-time job, gaming time is so hard to come by these days.

AS for the more obscure pro athletes, your timing is good. We have a bunch of guys from the major sports leagues (NFL, NBA, etc) but I get most excited about the more esoteric sports. We added a Paralympic triathlete and pro bass fisherman today. How awesome is that? Do you think he's be good at fishing games?

Kyle would win that one, or at least he would have a few years ago. We will do occasional events that bleed into the real world. For instance, we are putting together a cross-town rivalry competition in MLB2K13 between Cubs and Sox players around their crosstown series in May.

chifatcity4 karma

Thanks for doing the AMA, Hunter. Bears fan here, what do you think of Forte's comments regarding RBs initiating contact with the crown of the helmet? Is that a realistic rule change? Also looks like we might need a bit of help at LB, are you ready to dust of your pads?

hthill10 karma

Its no coincidence that only RBs have come out against it. That being said, it would be a nightmare to enforce and so subjective. The competition committee and the league office float things out there like this with a very specific objective in mind. They want to survey public sentiment, even if they have no real intent to make this a rule just yet.

I weigh 210 now. I'd have a better chance at kicker than LB right now.

malcontented-3 karma


hthill19 karma

How did Tebow make it into this conversation? I have a ton of respect for Tebow, the guy and his work ethic. He's just not a good NFL QB.