Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Patriots lineman Hill found dead after accidental drowning

The NFL and the New England sports community suffered another tragic loss when the body of Patriots defensive end Marquise Hill was found a half a mile from where he fell into the waters of Lake Pontchartrain Sunday night.

Hill, a third-year player and Louisiana native who played collegiately at LSU and won a National Championship with the Tigers in 2003, was riding a jet ski with a female companion Sunday after dark when tragedy struck. The rough waters located near a busy shipping channel contributed to the water crafts overturning, and the fact that neither rider was wearing a life vest only exacerbated the situation.

By all reports Hill, an exemplary player, role model and human being who was able to swim, made an attempt to rescue his female friend, who could not. The friend was found unharmed, clinging to a piling, but Hill could not navigate the strong current and was washed away despite rescue attempts by an alert bystander on shore and numerous search groups.

Hill's tragic death comes on the heels of the sudden passing of two Denver Broncos players this off season, corner back Darrent Williams from a fatal gunshot wound on New Years Eve, and running back Damien Nash from an apparent heart attack after a charity basketball game in February.

The Boston sports family also has endured unexpected deaths in the past eight months: Celtics patriarch Red Auerbach in October; Celtics guard & playoff legend Dennis Johnson, also from a sudden heart attack in February, two days before Nash; and former Patriots receiver Darryl Stingley, whose painful, paralyzed life came to a abrupt end in April.

Combined with the recent deaths of St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Josh Hancock, USC kicker Mario Danelo, and former Eagle Andre Watters, and there has been more than enough disturbing confirmations that even our most physically gifted and athletically talented people cannot escape the harsh realities of the real world.

R.I.P., Marquise.

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