Taysom Hill is hunkered down in Utah County for the offseason and he’s found a new hobby.
It’s far removed from his violent fall and winter world of crushing bones and torn sinews in the National Football League.
Hill has become a baker.
He puts on an apron.
That’s right. He’s enjoying making dough, decorating pastries and creating delicious fillings for pies.
It all started when Hill had off-season surgery on his pinkie finger — not a big deal and nothing crazy — he told former New Orleans teammate Chase Daniels on his “Chase Chats” podcast this week.
But it was something that took him out of working out for a couple of weeks.
During that time, Hill and his wife, Emily, got to watching “The Great British Baking Show” on Netflix. It’s an intense competition between a group of aspiring bakers who are given the challenge to bake a project under the gun of a timer. At the end, judge Paul Hollywood, a salty-haired goatee-wearing baking master, helps make a judgment on who did the best job. It can get competitive and very brutal for the losers. There are tears, hugs and a lot of feelings when contestants are sent home, kind of like getting sacked.
And yes, I have watched it. I saw it with my 14-year-old granddaughter and wife this winter to get a pass to see “Narcos: Mexico.”
Emily Hill announced the family hobby on social media with a photo of a scrumptious-looking display of cinnamon rolls. Taysom told Daniels he’s had a lot of fun making a multiple layered cake and lemon meringue pie.
So, NFL linebackers and corners attempting to tackle Hill, you are bouncing off a baker man.
Hill said he’s spent the offseason in Provo working out until the COVID-19 threat shut things down. He went from working out at BYU’s football facilities and weight room to having it all shut down.
“And so I lost my weight room, my nutritionist, everything,” said Hill. “We’ve tried to stay inside and wait out this quarantine and virus. We’re just laying low.”
Still, he must work out hard in the offseason, he said, to be true to himself, to his coaches, teammates and the New Orleans Saints franchise and fans. He believes he owes that to them.
With BYU closing its doors, Hill considered ordering equipment he could use to work out in his home. “I could always go find a hill to run outside,” he said.
While quarterbacks can generally find specific things about their craft to work on in the offseason and in a home environment, because of the way Hill plays, he needs to keep up with his specific lifting routines to keep up his explosiveness and strength.
Hill found a neighbor who has an extensive gym with workout equipment in his home. He has limited the use of it to just a few people, including Chad Lewis, an associate athletic director at BYU and former NFL all-pro tight end.
“I’m OK, and this is kind of my process with this facility, which is good for a professional athlete,” Hill said. “For me, a weight room is an important component of my offseason training to keep up the strength through the season.”
Hill said staying away from people during these tough times is important because it is the responsible thing to do — not only for him and his family but because he doesn’t want to expose other people to it either.
“We are trying to be responsible, but at the same time part of my job is staying in shape.”
Aside from the baking, Hill said almost every day he breaks out his smoker grill, just something he likes to do. Like baking, it is a way of spending his time.
And that’s something we all have a lot of right now.
Make the most of it, with or without an oven.