|As they prepare for Super Bowl, Patriots remember fallen teammate Marquise Hill|
|Written by Admin|
|Wednesday, 30 January 2008 06:21|
He knows Marquise Hill will be right there with him.
``I'm wearing his pads and that's how I carry him with me,'' the defensive end said Tuesday. ``I've been wearing them for about the past 10 weeks. That's how I'll carry him with me as far as him being here at the Super Bowl in spirit.''
Hill, a promising defensive lineman and former second-round draft pick, died in a jet ski accident on Lake Pontchartrain in Louisiana last May. The Patriots have honored him this season by wearing a black circle decal with his No. 91 on their helmets.
Green, who shared a special bond with Hill because they both played at LSU, took his death particularly hard. While his teammates talked about their chances of beating the New York Giants in Sunday's game, Green was somber as he talked about Hill.
``Usually, I'm OK, but then I'm always getting asked a question about Marquise so it brings me back to that time in the summer when I got the phone call to tell me that he was missing,'' Green said, looking down at his feet. ``That's what I think about first. I remember him always asking me to wear his pads the season before and I never did. This year, because of that fact, that's why I'm wearing his pads - as a remembrance to him.''
Hill played on LSU's national championship team in 2004 and was drafted by New England a few months after the Tigers beat Oklahoma. He had yet to start for the Patriots, playing in 13 games in his NFL career, but was always upbeat in the locker room.
``He was the kind of guy who, if anything bad was going on, he would try to uplift everybody by being a big clown or telling jokes,'' said Giants cornerback Corey Webster, another former LSU teammate. ``He was a big teddy bear. We just kind of let him rest now. I know he's happy for us and he's looking down on us, smiling right now.''
``I think with all the controversy and allegation and finger-pointing that has happened during the season, that's something that's been overlooked, as far as the season is concerned,'' defensive end Ty Warren said. ``I think everybody in that locker room is not only playing for themselves, or their family or this organization, but I think a lot of them are playing for Marquise.''
Hill left behind a fiancee, Inell Benn, and a 2-year-old son, Ma'shy. Green, who already has three children of his own, took on the role of godfather to Hill's son - forever linking their families.
``Hey, I will never replace Marquise as a dad, but being there and being capable of giving his son what he needs as far as a father's touch, it's good just to be around,'' Green said. ``Hopefully, one day I can be at Ma'shy's graduation from high school and watch him walk down the aisle.''
Green said Benn will be at the game Sunday, and thinks the team will also try to get Hill's mother, Sherry, to Arizona as the Patriots try to complete a perfect season.
``I remember his mom saying when it happened, 'Marquise said y'all are going to the Super Bowl. That's what he said,''' Green recalled. ``Now, we're here at the Super Bowl and he's not here and it would've been great, but you know what? He's here. He sees all.''
Green said Hill was particularly excited about the offseason additions of Randy Moss, Wes Welker and Donte' Stallworth.
``If he could say something right now, he'd probably say, 'Look, I told ya, man. I told ya,''' Green said, smiling. ``When the new guys came in, he kept talking about, 'Hey, if we don't get to the Super Bowl this year, then something is wrong. Something is definitely wrong.'''
Hill was right on about his teammates, who left his locker intact this season at Foxborough.
``Anything we receive from sponsors like Reebok or anything that gets sent to the team or anything like that, we put it into his locker like he was there,'' Warren said. ``Everybody always pays homage when he walks by his locker.''
Green said the team doesn't talk much about Hill these days, but they all privately remember the impact he had on their lives.
``What I promised myself was that the way I approach my life was going to be the way I was going to honor Marquise,'' safety Rodney Harrison said. ``I get up every day and as I walk past his locker, I remember him and I just thank God for the opportunity for me to wake up in the morning. It's the small things, like saying 'I love you' to my wife and my mom and my kids, not taking anything for granted.''