Giants' Justin Hilliard Says Accidentally Taking Wrong Medicine Led to NFL Suspension

Erin WalshJune 17, 2022

New York Giants linebacker Justin Hilliard (46) walks onto the field prior to playing the Dallas Cowboys during an NFL football game in Arlington, Texas, Sunday, Oct. 10, 2021. (AP Photo/Michael Ainsworth)
AP Photo/Michael Ainsworth

The NFL suspended New York Giants linebacker Justin Hilliard for the first two games of the 2022 regular season for violating the league's performance-enhancing drug policy, and he said Friday that accidentally taking his partner's medication led to the ban.

Justin Hilliard @JHilliard47

NFL's zero-tolerance policy, and I take full <br>responsibility for having a banned substance in my body.

Hilliard was a five-star recruit who played his college football at Ohio State. He was signed by the San Francisco 49ers last offseason after going undrafted but was waived before the start of the regular season.

The Giants claimed Hilliard off waivers and, after playing just two games, he was placed on injured reserve in October and missed most of the year with an ankle injury.

The 25-year-old has spent much of this offseason working with the Giants' first-team defense with Blake Martinez recovering from a torn ACL. He'll likely continue working with the first team during preseason practices and games, though he won't be eligible to play in a regular-season game until Week 3.

In addition to serving as Martinez's primary backup, Hilliard also contributes on special teams.

The Giants linebacker group also includes fifth overall pick Kayvon Thibodeaux, Azeez Ojulari, Tae Crowder, Elerson Smith, Micah McFadden, Jihad Ward, Quincy Roche, Carter Coughlin, Darrian Beavers and Oshane Ximines.

With the addition of Thibodeaux, New York's defense should be better than it was last season when it finished with the 15th-ranked passing defense and 25th-ranked rushing defense.