Wide receiver Tyreek Hill appeared with Mitch Holthus and Matt McMullen on Chiefs.com’s “Training Camp Live” show on Monday, and he discussed taking a more active role as one of the team’s leaders — something he said that he learned from his early Kansas City Chiefs teammates.
“I was once in their position,” Hill said of the team’s current young crop of receivers. “I was a fifth-round draft pick. I was able to come into a great locker room with Jeremy Maclin, Chris Conley and Albert Wilson. All of those guys took me right under their wing — not only me, but Demarcus Robinson. It helped me to get to this spot. I’m very thankful for those guys. I’m thankful for the Chiefs giving me the opportunity to be in this position — and such a great environment and culture.”
Hill has come a long way since he joined the team in 2016. No one in the NFL ever seriously doubted his speed, but many wanted to think of him as a one-dimensional threat. Hill said that as a player, one of his early mistakes was to pay too much attention to what they said.
“When I first came into the league,” he recalled, “a lot of people said, ‘Aw, he’s just another fast guy,’ you know? So I kind of took that to heart.”
But then he realized that changing this perception was within his own control.
“I was like, ‘You know what? I’m going to be different. I want to be different from any other speed guy. I want to be able to block, make tough grabs, be able to run every route on a route tree.’ So I worked by butt off each and every offseason to grow as a player — in every aspect of the game.”
Hill says he now realizes that’s the lesson his mother always taught him.
“My mom always told me I was different,” he said. “And if you want to be great, you’ve got to be different — and chase greatness. So that’s what I live by, man.”
Now finally considered one of the league’s elite receivers, Hill said he can still find ways to improve his game.
“I’ve just got to be able to just trust myself in certain situations,” he explained. “You can tell that sometimes, when I catch the ball, I always think that people are around me — when clearly, they’re not. So I’ve got to be able to just catch the ball — snag it, put it away and start putting up the peace sign.
“I just feel like if I began to trust myself — and trust my hands more — I feel like I’d be a whole completely different animal.”
It’s not just what Hill says. It’s also the way he says it — the way he speaks. He’s come through a period of his life that could easily have fostered resentment and bitterness. But instead, he calmly and deliberately speaks as a man reborn — someone who has found a new purpose in his life.
“Just committing to want to grow as a man, as a citizen, as a father,” he told Holthus and McMullen. “I want to be all those things — and I’m still growing and learning each and every day. I’m excited for my journey.”