Any one of the unfortunate setbacks that have interrupted Taysom Hill’s season for the New Orleans Saints singularly could have ended it or, at least, solely should have been enough upheaval for one man.
The fact that, collectively, they have not may be the best spokesperson that Hill will have for his 2021 season, which will resume Sunday in the Caesars Superdome when New Orleans (7-8) takes on Carolina (5-10) and attempts to keep alive its hopes for a playoff berth.
So far, the Saints' quarterback has dealt with a concussion, plantar fasciitis, Mallet Finger and Covid-19. Only the finger hasn't caused him to miss games, but the totality of five missed games is a significant accomplishment considering the figurative cement blocks that have been dropped on Hill.
But he's not bothering to wonder if all the misfortune that can happen, has happened.
"I'm never going to say that," Hill said, with a laugh. "And look, football is just a game that you can't take for granted because you never know when it'll be your last. That lesson was taught to me several times in college.
"I'm fully aware that it's a brutal league on many accounts – from an injury standpoint, from a business standpoint, you name it. It's a challenging league to make it in and stick around. So I think you have to have that mind-set, take advantage of every opportunity you can and control what you can control because if you don't, it's a brutal league."
In college at BYU, Hill had four season-ending injuries. He played every game the previous three seasons before this year's string of setbacks. Still, the Saints remain in the playoff hunt with Hill poised to start Sunday. New Orleans is 2-1 in his starts at quarterback this season, and 5-2 overall dating to last year's four starts.
"It's been a challenging year for a lot of reasons for me," he said. "I'm fully aware of this situation and where we're at in the playoff picture and all that stuff. You get to a point where you compete from July until now to have an opportunity to get to postseason play, and then you have to deal with more things. It's just one of the things that we've had to deal with this season.
"We're still right in the middle of it and we're going to control what we can control. That's kind of been the vibe of this season and what we've had to live by, and I think we've been able to persevere through it pretty well, to where we're still in the hunt to get to postseason."
McCOY PLACED ON COVID LIST: Center Erik McCoy is the latest Saint to be placed on the Reserve/Covid-19 list. Hill said the loss is significant, but that the Saints are prepared to weather it.
"We ask a lot of our centers here, and Erik's been an anchor for us," Hill said. "He'll definitely be missed. I think with that being said, from an organization standpoint, they've done a great job of preparing these other guys. Will Clapp stepped in and took quite a few reps at center today, and I thought he did a really good job.
"And as I look at Will, I've had a lot of reps with Will. My comfort level with him is really high, so I'm fine with that. I think he's super capable. Now, there's still a learning curve for both he and I as we adjust to getting more reps together, but I don't see it being an issue."