Former NFL wide receiver Drew Hill, a two-time Pro Bowler who was a key part of the Houston Oilers’ famed ”Run and Shoot” offense of the 1980s, died at an Atlanta hospital late Friday after suffering two massive strokes, according to his agent.
Piedmont Hospital spokesman Jim Taylor on Saturday confirmed the 54-year-old Hill’s death.
Hill fell ill on a golf course on Thursday and died late Friday after suffering the strokes, said his agent, Jay Mathis of Next Level Management.
A 12th round pick from Georgia Tech in 1979, Hill played for the Los Angeles Rams from 1979 to 1984, for the Oilers from 1985 to 1991, and for the Atlanta Falcons for the 1992 and 1993 seasons.
”I’m shocked," former Oilers quarterback Warren Moon told the Houston Chronicle. "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."
Hill had 634 receptions for 9,831 yards and 60 touchdowns, averaging 15.5 yards per catch, according to NFL.com. He was on Pro Bowl teams in 1998 and 1990 and played in one Super Bowl, Mathis said.
”Drew was a great receiver, one who knew the offense and was always in the right spot," said Moon, who led the high-powered Oilers offenses that relied on four-receiver sets. "I always knew exactly where Drew would be.”
”He was always cool under pressure,” Moon told the Chronicle.
Hill played 14 seasons in the NFL, and had 60 or more receptions during seven of eight seasons from 1985 to 1992. He also had three years with 70 or more catches and five with 1,000 yards, his management company said.
Tennessee Titans head coach Mike Munchak, the Hall of Famer who played on the offensive line with the Oilers (now the Titans) as Hill’s teammate, said in a statement that his former teammate had guts.
”I played with Drew for a number of years, and he was one of the toughest players I ever played with," Munchak said. "He wasn’t a big guy, but he wasn’t afraid of anything and loved going over the middle making big catches for us. He was made for our run and shoot system. As a person, he was a quiet guy and a real pro.”
The Newnan, Ga. native recently worked as an artist and businessman, and remained active with the Atlanta chapter of the NFL Players Association.
”Atlanta has always been home for him,” Mathis said.