Remembering late New England Patriots DL Marquise Hill on Memorial Day weekend

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- As a reporter covering the New England Patriots, this time of year brings back memories of late defensive lineman Marquise Hill.

It was Memorial Day Weekend in 2007 when Hill, who was set to enter his fourth year with the team, drowned in a boating accident on Lake Pontchartrain.

"We have suffered a stunning and tragic loss," Patriots coach Bill Belichick said at the time. "Marquise will be remembered as a thoughtful and caring young man who established himself as one of the year-round daily fixtures of our team. I send my deepest condolences to the Hill family."

Hill was a 2004 second-round draft choice of the Patriots out of Louisiana State. At 6-foot-6 and 300 pounds, he ended up playing in 13 games over his three seasons.

His mother, Sherry, penned a book titled "The Linesman, My Son, My Hero" that was sent to me after it published. I pulled it off the bookshelf and wanted to share one part of it with readers today:

"Marquise cherished his Super Bowl ring. It was the last in a string of successes and he appreciated everything that he had achieved. That ring signified the attainment of his ultimate goal, which was to make it to the Super Bowl. He used to say how the Super Bowl ring was the only "bling" that he ever cared about ... his favorite possessions were those that had some kind of meaning to him. A symbol of his team winning the Super Bowl certainly qualified. He had 'an old spirit', loving Ray Charles, Otis Redding, old gangster movies and documentaries.

"His eyes sparkled with a new kind of pride [after he was drafted]. He had overcome all kinds of odds to get to this coveted place, including keeping his nose clean. I heard him whisper in my ear, 'Ma, I finally made it. I told you I would. You can't keep a good man down!'

"What mother would get a high hearing that?"