Dad J.D. turned his life around

MIKE KOREEN -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:02 AM ET

J.D. Hill travels around North America, expressing his love for God and warning people about the dangers of drugs and alcohol.

A one-time all-pro receiver with the Buffalo Bills, the father of Argos rookie running back Hakim Hill knows a thing or two about how drugs and alcohol can affect a family.

J.D. Hill battled drug and alcohol problems during Hakim's childhood, and acknowledges that his problems took a toll on his youngest son, who has had his own brushes with the law.

"A lot of things that happened with Hakim were because his dad wasn't in the right place spiritually and emotionally," J.D. Hill said. "I take some responsibility for it ... I wasn't as stable as I should have been."

Today, J.D. Hill and his wife Caryl run the Courage Foundation, which aids youth organizations, the homeless and needy people.

"If I wouldn't have turned to the Lord, I don't know where I would be today," J.D. Hill said. "Every chance I get to share my testimony (about) what God brought me through, I want to share it.

"Any time you're using drugs and alcohol, you're a disappointment not only to God, but your family. You're a professional athlete and you're supposed to be a role model, but the lifestyle I chose was one of disobedience and I was throwing everything (out) around me."

Hakim Hill, however, accepts full responsibility for his problems. While Hill acknowledges his father was in and out of his life growing up, he speaks highly of his dad and has fond memories of J.D. taking him to the Bills dressing room when his playing career was over. J.D. was able to meet many of the NFL's stars -- including the notorious O.J. Simpson, who remains a family friend, and former Detroit Lions star Barry Sanders.

"It did have a bit of an effect on me because I always wanted that," Hill said of being around pro football players. "I saw it, being a little kid, and it was like, 'I want that.' "

J.D. Hill, meanwhile, believes Hakim is on the right track.

"I really think he has a bright future," he said. "Dad and mom can't do anything. Hakim has come to realize the future is truly in his hands and the hands of the Lord."


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