Some news gives you pause. After spending the better part of Friday night and Saturday away from the computer, everything stopped for a moment when I read that Drew Hill had died.
Those of you who have been around the block a while will remember Hill, who finished up his long career as an Atlanta Falcon with a two-year stint from 1992-93 in which he caught 94 passes for 1,007 yards and 3 touchdowns. It was the culmination of an NFL life that brought him to the St. Louis Rams and Houston Oilers and ended with 634 catches for 9,831 yards, 60 touchdowns and a sterling 15.5 yards per reception.
Those are terrific numbers for any receiver, and it demonstrates what a potent deep threat Hill was for many years of his career.
But that ignores the man, by all accounts a great guy and quiet professional who died in Atlanta, the place that had become his home. His former quarterback, Hall of Famer Warren Moon, admitted to being shocked by Hill's death at 54:
"I can't believe it. Drew meant so much to us as a player and as a person. I counted on him so much. He was the consummate professional. It's just so sad."
Life is inherently a fragile sort of thing, and perhaps we ought not be shocked when a former NFL player dies young. But it's hard to picture Hill with his fleet feet meeting that end so soon. It does shock me. It's depressing.
It's also unfair to Hill that the fondest memory many of us will have of him is as a Falcons receiver in Tecmo Super Bowl. But it's important to remember him for something, to not let a good man fade into the ether without recognizing his worth.
Take a second to share your memories of Hill, if you have any.