Of all the compliments Drew Hill earned from his 14-year NFL career -- he was productive, explosive, cool under pressure -- the one from Mike Munchak should mean the most.
"I played with Drew for a number of years, and he was one of the toughest players I ever played with," Munchak said.
You know a wide receiver was tough when a Hall of Fame offensive lineman such as Munchak describes him that way. Unfortunately, Munchak's respects appeared in Hill's obituary. Hill passed away unexpectedly Friday following two strokes. He was 54.
Hill made his name professionally with the Houston Oilers after beginning his career in the NFC West with the Los Angeles Rams. Hill was a rookie in early 1980 when he accounted for the Rams' second-longest reception, good for 28 yards, during the team's Super Bowl defeat to the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The Rams traded Hill to Houston following the 1984 season. They already had Henry Ellard and speedster Ron Brown, and the offense ran through Eric Dickerson until the team traded him, too, a couple of years later.
Hill caught 60 passes for 1,347 yards and 10 touchdowns in five seasons with the Rams. His seven-year totals with the run-and-shoot Oilers: 480 catches for 7,477 yards and 46 touchdowns. Not even Ellard could match those numbers for the Rams during the same span (1985-91, when Ellard caught 435 passes for 7,199 yards and 37 touchdowns).
"Drew meant so much to us as a player and as a person," former Oilers quarterback Warren Moon told the Houston Chronicle. "I counted on him so much. He was the consummate professional. It's just so sad."