Since entering the league in 2016, Tyreek Hill has grown from star punt returner to the Kansas City Chiefs’ No. 1 receiver to a player considered to be among the NFL’s best at the position.
The only possible feat left is becoming the league’s top pass-catcher as a part of the Chiefs’ push toward another Super Bowl victory. That starts with a very unique training camp in 2020 — along with the little things, such as making sure the timing is right between him and quarterback Patrick Mahomes.
The team opens against the Houston Texans in less than a month, and there will be no preseason reps.
“I feel like that will come,” Hill said of the timing. “When it comes, that’s just reps over time so I mean — that’s why we’re here in training camp, to get those reps, to get those situations and to get those big moments, so I feel like all of that will come with time.”
Despite being only 26, Hill is among the older players in Kansas City’s wide receiver room. As he enters his fifth year, he acknowledged that comes with a whole new set of challenges.
“I feel like if I go out there every play and push myself and I become more of a vocal leader for those younger guys, they’ll see that, ‘Hey this guy is the fastest guy in the NFL, he works hard, so I want to be able to come into this offense and do the same thing,’” he explained. “You know, and all of it applies to the classroom too. When we’re watching one-on-ones, I’m helping them, telling them what I think they could have done better in this situation. I mean, I want everyone to be better, you know, because my job isn’t secured. I come out here every day working hard... trying to be that leader for everyone because I feel like our group makes this offense go, so I’m going to continue to work hard.”
Anyone who follows the league knows about Hill’s sub-4.3 speed. After winning a race against teammate Mecole Hardman (he says he’s temporarily retired from racing, by the way), it probably is safe to say he is the league’s fastest player.
Prior to their postponement, there were reports that Hill had interest in competing in the 2020 Summer Olympics.
“I was real serious about it,” Hill admitted. “I feel like I’m going to the prime of my career and I’m feeling stronger than ever so I was real serious about it. I was in talks with my track coach from high school and it was a real serious thing for me, you know. I feel like I can compete with some of those guys, I mean I feel like I can at least place, may not win but I’m going to at least place with those guys.”
The Olympics have since been moved to 2021, so stay tuned on that front. For now, Hill is focusing on football — and winning another Super Bowl.
More than speed, the special sauce for Hill’s success as a wideout comes in his rare tracking ability.
Hill ran a magnificent route to pull off 2-3 Jet Chip Wasp in Super Bowl LIV — and not many other receivers in the league could have tracked the ball as well as he did with the season and championship on the line.
“I played baseball growing up, in and out of pee wee and I played centerfield, so I was able to track the ball really well,” he said. “I got the speed to keep up with the ball, but I feel like God just blessed me able to play numerous sports, baseball, playing kickball, football, whatever the case may be, catching alley-oops on a basketball hoop, whatever the case may be. I’ve always been able to have that gift of tracking the ball.”
Hill’s regular-season numbers suffered in 2019 due to missing almost five games (he did still have 860 yards), but he managed 17 catches, 213 yards and two touchdowns during Kansas City’s title run in the playoffs. Now he is back and healthy, preparing his own game while readying the defense.
“All of them are fun to go against — Tyrann (Mathieu), (Bashaud) Breeland, Charvarius (Ward), all of them love to compete, so iron sharpens iron, so I love it.”