Teammates remember Marquise Hill as full of fun and laughter
By John Ingoldsby
FOXBORO, Mass. - The West Point tombstone of fallen Army Women's basketball coach Maggie Dixon reads: "So good, So wise, So young."
Those heartfelt words used to remember the 28-year-old Dixon, who died tragically last Spring from a heart condition, also aptly describe the memory of Marquise Hill, who drowned last weekend in a New Orleans jet-ski accident.
The former Patriots defensive lineman was remembered by his teammates today, and another epitaph that clearly could be used to portray Hill would be, "So full of fun."
In a somber setting in the team's media room, Kevin Faulk, Richard Seymour and Ty Warren all separately reflected on what life is suddenly like without their compatriot, and what life was like with him. The memory that consistently came through was his sense of humor and work habits.
"He was a fun-loving guy, and whenever he saw a guy down, he immediately would pick them up," said Faulk. "He was the first one in the weight room here in the morning, and always had a smile on his face. He had a way of getting a smile out of you. We became real close."
Richard Seymour echoed the same sentiments, reminiscing that Hill "was full of laughter and energy, and someone who kept the mood light and fun." Seymour also recognized his work ethic, noting, "Marquise was an early-morning guy who was always in early with the coaches."
Ty Warren, who played the same position as Hill, recalled, "No matter what the situation, he was one of the funniest guys, cracking jokes, and just a fun guy to be around. He would go up and down the locker room cracking jokes position by position. But, he still worked hard every day."
Sadly, Hill's laughter and work habits have been silenced, and without him, the locker room was a much quieter place today when the team assembled for passing camp.
"It was tough coming back in and walking past his locker, seeing the flowers," said Seymour. "Guys were looking at each other, and not knowing what to say."
Warren had the same empty feeling, observing, "There was a real void for me walking by his locker today. We were friends, and he sat right behind me in meetings."
As tough as it was today on his teammates, it was worse last weekend when the news broke.
"I received numerous calls starting Sunday," Warren stated, "and was hearing early stories about people on that lake making it out of similar situations. With Marquise being 6'6" and 300 pounds, we thought he could swim out of it. It was suspenseful all weekend."
Faulk said he first heard about the incident through a phone call, and "my first reaction was to turn on the TV for news since I was up here (in Massachusetts.)"
Seymour, acknowledging he had been in a tragic situation himself with the sudden death of his father, said he received the news early Monday morning.
"It was very shocking. I was feeling numb and lost for words. The team was in touch, and we were online trying to get news," Seymour said. "I had just seen him up here on Friday at the OTAs (Organized Team Activities). As a fellow defensive lineman, I was a mentor of sorts to him. He was one of my guys."
Seymour added, "It is always tough to lose a teammate, and my thoughts go to his family." Warren stated, "We are all still searching for answers, and this puts things in perspective as a time to lean on religion and family."
That camaraderie and the Patriots organizational unity will be evident on Friday when many from the organization board a charter flight to attend services for Hill in New Orleans.
"The organization getting a plane for the team to go down speaks volumes," mentioned Faulk. Seymour added that, "it's best to go as a team. We wouldn't have it any other way."
Nor would Hill have wanted it any other way, both now and in the season ahead.
"It's tough, but we still have a job to do, and Marquise would not have wanted it another way," said Faulk. Seymour agreed, adding, "it will be a process for us to move forward as a team. But we will pull together."
When asked how the organization will remember Hill, Seymour said, "We have talked about it, but it is still open how we will honor him."
Perhaps the highest honor of all to remember Hill could be to think of him when laughter again returns amongst his fellow Patriots. There would be no better way to commemorate this fallen friend and teammate.
The family of Marquise Hill has established two funds in his memory. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Marquise's name to the following:
The Ma'shy - Hill Health Care and Education Fund
8440 Jefferson Highway, 1st Floor
Baton Rouge, LA 70809
Attn: Maureen Dunham, Private Banking
Ma'shy Hill is Marquise's 20-month-old son
Greater St. Stephen's Full Gospel Baptist Church
2240 Simon Blvd.
New Orleans, LA 70113
John Ingoldsby has covered the New England Patriots for various publications the past 13 years. He began his writing about the NFL for newspapers in the 1970s. John is a member of the Professional Football Writers of America. You can find him on the Patriots Insider boards under the handle Rudiee.
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