A familiar face is coming to town this Wild Card Weekend. The postseason matchup between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Miami Dolphins marks the highly anticipated return of wide receiver Tyreek Hill to Arrowhead Stadium. Hill captivated Kansas City fans with his electric play style for the first six years of his career, until he was traded to the Dolphins in 2022.
After practice on Tuesday, Chiefs head coach Andy Reid said the reunion with the team’s former star player is sure to have everyone in the stadium fired up once again.
“Yeah, he’s always ready to play, so he’ll be fired up I’m sure,” Reid said of the former Chiefs’ receiver. “Our fans – it doesn’t matter who comes in I mean our fans – they’re crazy every week, so it’s going to be electric no matter who’s out there. I know Tyreek will be fired up. He’s like our fans, he’s always fired up.”
The Chiefs are well aware of Hill’s game-breaking explosiveness on the field. He continues to be one of the NFL’s most dangerous offensive players, ranking first in receiving yards (1,799), tied for first in touchdowns (13) and tied for second in receptions (119).
Having said that, Hill is currently dealing with ankle and quad injuries and was listed as a limited participant during Tuesday’s practice session. Despite this, Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes knows from his years playing with Hill just how competitive the receiver can be and is ready to take on the challenge that he and the entire Miami team will present this Saturday.
“We’re competitors,” Mahomes said about his relationship with Hill. “You’ve seen me with guys like (Las Vegas Raiders Raiders lineman) Maxx Crosby, you see me – I have that fire, that competitive fire on the football field, he’s the same way, that’s what makes him so great.
“We’re still friends in the offseason and everything like that, but when you play on the field you’re trying to compete to win. That’s just how it is. I’m excited for the opportunity for our defense, I’m excited for the opportunity for our team to go against a great football team.”
Of course, Mahomes will not be the one directly tasked with slowing Hill down. That responsibility falls under the Chiefs’ secondary, which includes cornerback Trent McDuffie.
During the team’s Week 9 matchup against the Dolphins in Germany, McDuffie held his own against the explosive All-Pro, even withstanding several attempts to get in the young second-year corner’s head with some friendly competitive banter (5:16 mark of the clip below).
“He’s one of those dudes who’s not really talking trash,” McDuffie revealed about his last matchup against Hill. “It’s like all fun and games. We didn’t say much. It was all cool. It was fun being able to go against Tyreek (Hill), and he’s jawing at you and you just going back-and-forth competing and making plays. I feel like that’s why you want to come to the NFL.”
In the end, Hill finished the game with a modest eight receptions for 62 yards, while McDuffie had the last laugh by forcing the fumble which ended up being the difference in the game.
This is WILD!— Sunday Night Football on NBC (@SNFonNBC) November 5, 2023
Chiefs force a Tyreek Hill fumble and then lateral the ball for a touchdown!
“It’s exciting when you get to go against one of the best receivers in the NFL,” McDuffie explained. “I know he’s going to bring a lot of energy coming back to Chiefs Kingdom, so I think it’s going to be really fun.”
Although the Chiefs won in Week 9 by a score of 21-14, this Saturday’s game will be a completely different story. The win-or-go-home stakes of the postseason, combined with the Hill’s emotional return to Kansas City, sets up what should be an intense playoff atmosphere for everyone involved.
“It’ll be a good feeling,” linebacker Willie Gay noted about Hill’s return. “I know he’s ready for it more than anything, so we got to make sure he doesn’t have a good homecoming.”