Saturday, April 21, 2018
Tampa Bay Storm

Tampa Bay Storm finally gets new quarterback Nick Hill in uniform

TAMPA — It took a few months longer than expected, but quarterback Nick Hill will finally pull on a Storm uniform tonight.

Hill, considered one of the top unrestricted free agents coming into the season, signed with Tampa Bay in September. But four months later, he signed with the NFL's Packers.

Green Bay released Hill last week. And the Storm, tied for first with Georgia in the South Division, activated him for tonight's game at Jacksonville.

"He's a good player, a smart player," Storm coach Dave Ewart said. "That's why he was the No. 1 guy we recruited in here.

"He was staying in good shape up there in Green Bay. So it's just about making a few adjustments."

Stephen Wasil has started every game at quarterback for the Storm this season and has been steady. He has completed 60.5 percent for 2,753 yards, 55 touchdowns and 16 interceptions.

In 2011, Hill led the league at 321.8 passing yards per game, throwing for 4,758 yards and rushing for 391, which were second in the league. Hill, who led Orlando to the playoffs, also threw 97 touchdowns and just 17 interceptions.

Ewart was noncommittal regarding who would start tonight — "I won't know until right up to game time" — but with Tampa Bay having a bye next week, it seems likely Wasil starts against the Sharks before giving way to Hill after the off week.

To make room on the roster, the Storm placed receiver and kick returner Michael Lindsey on injured reserve. Lindsey, whose injury was not disclosed, had appeared in eight games, catching 17 passes for 163 yards and a touchdown.

Royal Return: Former Wharton High and USF standout Terrence Royal signed this week, returning to the Storm for his fourth season. Royal, who splits most of his time between fullback and linebacker, is expected to see extensive playing time tonight.

"Terrence is a team guy," Ewart said. "Not only is he a great guy in the locker room, but he has a proven track record of production and is a hard-nosed football player."

Royal gives Ewart flexibility at several positions, having played five last season. Last season he had 32 carries for 67 yards and five touchdowns, caught two passes for 10 yards, made four tackles and forced a fumble.

"I love playing football, and I am excited to be back," Royal said. "I look forward to helping the team out in the second half of the season."

Grothe out: To make room for Royal and with Hill returning, former USF QB Matt Grothe was released. In five appearances in relief, Grothe completed 12 of 21 passes for 161 yards and three touchdowns.

"Telling him was one of the hardest things I've ever had to do," Ewart said.

"He's a good kid who had minimal opportunities."