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Hill's death is ruled accidental drowning

The death of Patriots defensive lineman Marquise Hill was determined yesterday to be an accidental drowning.

An autopsy detected no drugs or alcohol in Hill's body, although Orleans Parish (La.) coroner Dr. Frank Minyard said more tests are planned, and those will take up to two weeks to complete. Minyard said Hill could have sustained a mild concussion after falling off a Jet Ski Sunday night.

"He might [have] hit the right side of his face above the eye when he fell off the craft," Minyard told the Associated Press. "He had a pretty nasty bruise there."

Hill died after a Jet Ski he was on capsized on Lake Pontchartrain in New Orleans and he drifted away in a strong current. Hill's body was found Monday afternoon about a quarter-mile from where he and a female friend capsized. The woman was rescued unhurt.

Minyard said there was a slight amount of blood in the brain, which could indicate a concussion.

"That could have caused him some confusion," he told the AP. "Although we were told he talked to the woman who was with him after the accident, he could have become disoriented."

Investigators said Hill and his friend were not wearing life vests, and they ended up in an area of strong currents where a shipping canal runs in the lake.

"The water goes through there very fast and it's very deep -- 70, 80, 90 feet deep," Minyard said.

At Gillette Stadium yesterday, Patriots chairman and CEO Robert Kraft spoke via telephone with Hill's mother, Sherry.

"I reiterated how respectful of a young man she raised," Kraft said on the team website.

Patriots headquarters were somber yesterday. With the passing camp scheduled for later this week, veterans had yesterday off and rookies continued in the team's offseason program.

Veteran Jarvis Green, who also was a teammate of Hill's at Louisiana State, was at the stadium and reflected on Hill's life in several interviews.

"Everything he did, he did with a passion," Green said.

Hill was on the minds of players and coaches across the NFL.

"I coached the young man a little bit up at New England and he was a good kid," said Browns coach Romeo Crennel, who was the defensive coordinator for the Patriots in their three Super Bowl victories. "It's just unfortunate that something like that did happen. I hope the family can move on and go forward."

There will be a funeral service for Hill Saturday in New Orleans, with visitation periods on both Friday and Saturday. Kraft has arranged for a charter flight so members of the Patriots organization can attend the services.

Material from the Associated Press was used in this report.

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