Troy Hill admits he frequently compared Browns to Rams, yearned for return to L.A.

Troy Hill's one-year absence from the Rams is over.

Hill spent his sabbatical in Cleveland, and it only cost Los Angeles a fifth-round pick to bring him back to the team he admitted Monday he missed. The Rams winning Super Bowl LVI without him didn't make things any easier on Hill, either.

"It was a little tough on the other end too," Hill said Monday, via the Los Angeles Times, "because it was like it's always that could've, should've, would've type of thing."

Hill could've had a Super Bowl ring, sure, but probably would've had less money in his pocket. When he signed a two-year deal with the Browns in 2021, Hill nearly doubled his annual average salary. But as Hill learned, money doesn't replace quality relationships and a comfortable fit.

Hill isn't the only person who grew up in Northeast Ohio, left it, returned and then eventually decided he'd rather be in Southern California. He's not even the only professional athlete to do so in recent years; Hill only needs to look toward Brentwood to find a prime example in the Los Angeles Lakers' LeBron James.

Los Angeles (and the west coast in general) is about as much of a home for Hill as Ohio, anyway, seeing as Hill left for Ventura, California, in his teenage years and spent his college years at Oregon. The home connection ended up mattering less than what Hill had come to know as a championship-level program and how his new environment just wasn't the same as what he'd left.

Watching that program promptly win the Super Bowl probably didn't help, either.

"When I was in Cleveland, I always found myself trying to compare things to how it was done over here in L.A.," he said. "I don't know if it was me just trying to compare as far as this is what a winning program [does], or if was just missing everything that was happening over here."

Although he missed out on winning a title, he won't have to yearn to wear the royal blue and sol anymore. Instead, he'll get a chance to join the Rams in their quest to run it back.

"I was excited about being able to come back out here and get some of this sunshine, things like that," Hill said Monday, adding it was also good "being able to come back, and seeing all these familiar faces, being traded to a team that I know what to expect."

Hill will know how to coordinate his uniform and where to go for practice and game day, and he'll be glad to reunite with coach Sean McVay, who said "distance makes the heart grow fonder" in reference to Hill's return. Some of the scenery might look a little different, though.

A healthy amount of Hill's past defensive teammates have left. Instead of a secondary headlined by Jalen Ramsey, John Johnson III and Darious Williams, only Ramsey remains (along with safety Jordan Fuller). David Long is still there, but he's now in a more prominent role while a handful of rookies arrive to supplement the team's back-end depth.

Hill flourished in the secondary he'd left, recording three interceptions before going without one in his lone season in Cleveland.

"In our secondary, everybody was capable of making plays," Hill said. "You don't want to be the weak link. So, I mean, that's kind of what my mindset was. I always felt like once I had the ball in my hand, I could do something with it."

That secondary was coordinated by Brandon Staley, who preceded Hill in leaving the Rams for a new opportunity. The only difference between the two is Staley -- another Northeast Ohio product, by the way -- didn't have to go back to the Midwest for his job. He just had to change locker rooms at SoFi Stadium.

Hill will be glad to return to his familiar Rams locker room, even if the defense might be a little different with Raheem Morris running things. He's also eager to prove the Browns didn't get enough value in return for his services -- heading into his age-31 season with one remaining season of team control, he's wrong, but alas -- even if he wanted to return to the Rams, anyway.

"I feel disrespected," he said. "Definitely motivated to come out and show what I can do. ... Definitely plan to come out and play with a chip on my shoulder, for sure."

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