Originally posted on Fox Sports Florida  |  Last updated 11/2/11
MIAMI Randal Hill once was known for wearing orange tights and towels that read "Bomb Squad," or were adorned with his nickname, "Thrill." Now, he dons suspenders. Talk about a perceived anti-establishment guy joining the establishment. The guy who gained his most fame for firing imaginary six-shooters for the University of Miami in the 1991 Cotton Bowl now carries a real gun as a special agent for Homeland Security investigations. Hill, 42, who played in the NFL from 1991-97 after leaving the Hurricanes, also these days is a uniform inspector for the NFL. He stands on the sidelines at Miami Dolphins home games, warning players and taking notes on those who might not have jerseys tucked in or socks pulled up. Once known for bending the rules, "Thrill" Hill is now enforcing them. "He's gone from wearing orange tights to telling a guy how he should look in the NFL," said Gino Torretta, the 1992 Heisman Trophy winner and once Hill's teammate with the Hurricanes. However, Hill, 42, doesn't portray himself as somebody who has changed. He said he always was career-oriented during his football heyday, wanting one day to get into law enforcement. Hill graduated from Miami in four years. He said he's never taken illegal drugs or had a drink of alcohol in his life. If anybody wants to pigeonhole him from having only watched him on the football field, so be it. "You got to understand that I was very flamboyant on the field and I had fun with it," Hill said."But you can watch any tape of any kind of celebration, and I never broke a rule. It was not illegal for me to go into the tunnel (during that Cotton Bowl). It was not illegal for me to dance on the field. I'll buy you a lunch if you can find any situation where I was flagged for any kind of celebration. I always stayed within the rules." Of course, college rules calling for penalties for taunting were changed after that Cotton Bowl, in which the Hurricanes crushed Texas 46-3 on Jan. 1, 1991. The "Miami Rule" was enacted after the Hurricanes rolled up 16 penalties, nine for unsportsmanlike conduct. But Hill says with pride he wasn't flagged after the most enduring play from that game. Hill took a pass from quarterback Craig Erickson and streaked down the left sideline to complete a 48-yard touchdown reception for a 33-3 third-quarter lead. Hill kept running, disappearing into the Cotton Bowl tunnel. Then he emerged firing imaginary six-shooters, which he says was a reference to Texas defensive back Stanley Richard, who was nicknamed "The Sheriff" and had been doing some talking. "I couldn't stop running because I was so fast," said Hill, who also became well known at Miami for signaling a first down each time he made one."The uniform didn't have a parachute. I couldn't pull a rip cord. I ended up being able to slow down in the tunnel... (Hill emerged from the tunnel) firing my fake six-shooter. But we had fun... We shook hands afterward (with Texas players)." Four months later, Hill was a first-round pick of the Dolphins. He ended up having just a so-so NFL career, playing seven seasons for the Dolphins, Cardinals and Saints and catching 262 passes. But Hill never lost sight of his goal of being in law enforcement. He attended Broward Police Academy in Fort Lauderdale in 1999, which would lead to jobs as a police officer in Sunrise, Fla., and deputy sheriff in Palm Beach County. By 2003, Hill was hired by the Department of Homeland Security. He's in the financial division, which includes operations to stop the flow of narcotics. "I'm hyperactive," said the Miami-based Hill, something quite obvious from his celebratory antics. "I can't sit behind a desk. I like being in public and having fun. I like the pressure. This is the job that gives me all." So what does Hill's daily job entail? "He tells me, 'If I tell you, I'd have to kill you,' " joked Torretta, once a quarterback who threw to the ultra-fast Hill. "I understand that what he does is of a sensitive nature. I just know he's off jet-setting." Due to security reasons, Hill said, there are limits to what he can discuss about his position. But he did say he's led operations related to bulk cash smuggling and failure to declare goods. "I was able to seize two Learjets," Hill said of one recent operation. "I like to have fun. The day I don't have fun is the day I will stop doing it." Hill won't give names or the reason he seized the Learjets, with the exception of saying an individual involved was deriving money from illegal purposes. Hill was asked what the response was by the individual when told his two Learjets were about to be taken away. "What are you going to say?" Hill said. "You see somebody looking serious. You're going to say, 'Yes, sir. No, sir,' and be on your merry way." Regarding carrying a gun, Hill said, "I don't leave home without it." But he said he's yet to need to use his handgun on the job. When he meets with school groups, Hillalways is asked about his gun, but he lets it be known he considers it a last resort. "I can use verbal judo," said Hill, who also has dealt with notorious Miami gangs. "I can talk anybody out of anything on the street." While Hill is thriving in his government job, he also likes being able to stay close to football. He appears on the Hurricanes' radio pregame shows and has become a fixture on the Dolphins sideline. Before a recent Dolphins game, Hill diligently did paper work. He marked down uniform numbers of players on each team, filling in categories related to how the socks, jerseys and chinstraps looked. "He seems real serious about it," said Robert Bailey, once Hill's roommate with the Hurricanes who was an NFL defensive back from 1991-2001 and is now a player agent. "He walks around with his pad. He doesn't mix and mingle with the players. He doesn't want any person to think he's being biased. He's always dressed well. He's got his suspenders on." Yes, the suspenders. Bailey said that's now Hill's "trademark." Hill recalls a 2010 Dolphins preseason game when he dressed casually, wearing a polo shirt, and a fan asked about the absence of the suspenders. Regardless of the weather, Hill, saying he always wants to dress "first class," said he hasn't showed up at game dressed casually once since then. "People recognize me now not as Randal Hill, but that guy on the sidelines with the coat, tie and suspenders," Hill said. Hill used to be known for wearing No. 3 and those towels reading "Thrill" and "Bomb Squad." And, of course, for his antics. "Randal really was a hot dog," Bailey said. "In football, he let you know that, 'I'm the best.' ... When he did that in the Cotton Bowl, I cracked up on the sidelines. "Randal is the type of person that wants to have fun. He's a funny guy. But he can be serious. He plays both roles... When he was in college, he talked about being in the law-enforcement industry. I know that was his goal, and he achieved that goal." To see the fun side of Hill, go to YouTube, where easily found are videos of his celebrating and dancing with the Hurricanes. To see the serious side of Hill, just get on the wrong side of the law.
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