Tyreek Hill just wanted some attention.
Or some more followers on social media.
Or your, um, underwear in a wad.
It’s a warm, quiet Sunday afternoon and Hill has returned to Kansas City for a youth soccer camp he planned before the Chiefs traded him to Miami in March. In a seven-minute interview, it’s clear that he still feels some kind of attachment to this place, and even more so to this place for him. About 700 kids berated $350 a pop for the camp.
But in the moments after he reminisces – “Kansas City will always have my heart,” he opened – he is looking to applaud his own work this week.
And just to be clear, his work is pull one over you†
Four days ago, Hill released a 59-second clip from an upcoming podcast that debuts June 10. At the end of the clip, which focuses on his trade from Kansas City to Miami, his co-host, Julius Collins, asks: “Do you think this was a situation to suppress his stats – to lower his value when it came to a possible transaction or signing?”
It is, of course, absurd.
But a great teaser!
I don’t know if I was much interested in a Tyreek Hill podcast – more power for him to make one – but I’m sure I’m going to listen now. Should probably ask him for help writing headlines. He, or someone in his circle, has an untapped talent. But I digress.
Because things like this have consequences – it disappointed some in the Chiefs’ building, for starters – and Hill wants to put the responsibility for those consequences on you.
“I just feel like a bunch of people overreacted,” he said on Sunday when I asked his opinion on the response. “It was just, my co-host just asked a question. People just have to wait for the full clip to come out. I feel like my podcast is going in the right direction right now and I’m getting exactly the response I wanted. I get people’s panties in a wad, so I feel pretty good about that.”
Hill baited the hook and mocked the fish as he took a bite. What other reaction could he have expected?
His upcoming podcast is titled, “It Needed to Be Said,” but the main thing in his teaser is what wasn’t said.
It’s like claiming he was quoted out of context — and it even looks like he was — but he’s the one who transcribed the notes.
Four days later, at his camp, I offered Hill the chance to answer the question the trailer leaves us hanging on.
“You just have to wait for the podcast to come out,” he began, then thought better of it. “But I’ll say this: They didn’t suppress my stats. I got nothing but respect from top to bottom. That’s from Andy Reid, from Patrick Mahomes, (Travis) Kelce, all guys. I love my teammates, what’s also happens I’m going to stand on that.
“Like I said, all my co-host did was just ask me a question. I feel like that’s what podcasts are for – you’re supposed to go back and forth; you’re supposed to have those questions that have a little bit of tension in them. That’s just all there is.”
His first words effectively pointed his finger at us.
His actions benefited from a takeover.
He eventually dismissed the ridiculous idea that the Chiefs might have suppressed him. He deserves credit for the action aspect of this, even if it came only four days later after a direct question. It certainly could have come to its new followers with an enlightening tweet anytime in the past 96 hours.
The problem is that in the age of short news cycles, it’s almost certain that not everyone who saw the first headline will see it. The charge is there, even if Hill doesn’t answer in the affirmative to the full podcast due out this week (and it sounds like he won’t). And that’s his job. The Sopranos fade-to-black moment left everything open to interpretation, and it closed off the right to criticize that it may have been misinterpreted.
But there is another story that Hill is trying to introduce.
He said Sunday it wasn’t the driving force of the trade that removed him from Kansas City for the first time in his NFL career — the trade that closed with a new Miami contract that made him the NFL’s highest-paid receiver. .
‘I’m leaving with this. I came from juco (junior college). I had nothing. My skills, my mindset, is to be the best no matter what. The money part, it was just a bonus,” he said. “That is precisely there that added value to my name. But I keep trying to get better no matter what I do in life. I’m going to try to help my team win a Super Bowl. That’s my mindset, my goal. The money was just secondary to me.”
Some may have fallen for the podcast teaser. They shouldn’t fall for this. Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.
I’m willing to pay that more than money on a decision of this magnitude, but just days after the March transaction, Hill’s agent, Drew Rosenhaus, appeared on a radio station in Miami and said this:
“At the end of the season, I started a conversation with the Chiefs about a new contract extension, and it really moved toward slowly but surely working out a new deal for Tyreek,” said Rosenhaus, as transcribed by NFL Network. “And then the trade with Davante Adams (to Las Vegas) was finalized and Adams got a record-record contract. And I went through that contract right away, and I talked to the Chiefs and had a very positive conversation with them that this is the market should be for Tyreek.And if it wasn’t then it would be right that everyone benefits, which is that the team would have an unprecedented trade and Tyreek would go to a team that would be willing to pay him the highest receiver.”
Of course it sounds like money is a factor.
The factor, actually.
And that’s fine. I can’t blame the athlete for taking the money, especially the NFL athlete who has one last chance to make a lot of money. Hill is now the highest paid receiver in the game, a title he deserved. He didn’t owe the Chiefs a discount. He owed it to himself to find out his worth.
But if you make that decision, the story can’t go anywhere else. That was ultimately the reason he’s no longer in Kansas City, which didn’t have the space to pay Hill what the dolphins want. The money was not secondary. It was primary. The Dolphins have no better chance of winning a Super Bowl than the Chiefs.
During his answer Sunday about the money and (secondary) place in Hill’s move, an event organizer shouted it would be the last question. I tried to sneak in another one.
Secondary to what? I asked.
He tilted his head back as if he heard it.
But like the podcast, it became a walk-off question with no answer.
Left to our interpretation.