When the K.C. Chiefs took the field alt State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona on Friday night, there was a noticeable absence in the team’s offense to start the game.
With Patrick Mahomes, Travis Kelce and others in place, it was clear the starters were getting a decent amount of playing time, but Tyreek Hill was nowhere to be found,.
Hill, the team’s top wide receiver and one of the NFL’s very best at his position, was soon found standing on the sidelines while his teammates moved the chains without him thanks to some nice catches from Mecole Hardman and Byron Pringle.
A lingering hamstring kept Tyreek Hill from playing for Chiefs vs. Cardinals.
During the game, fans were asking questions on social media about Hill’s absence, but it wasn’t until after the game in a press conference featuring Andy Reid that Chiefs Kingdom heard a full explanation as to what happened to Hill in the pre-game process and what that meant going forward.
“Tyreek had a hamstring that had kinda tightened up on him in practice,” said Reid. “Thought he could go, and then during warm-ups, it tightened up again. We chose to keep him out of there.”
The Chiefs were still able to put together an impressive win without him, although the offense was a bit limited in the early going. However, Hill’s absence also allowed Mecole Hardman to step up and receive more targets. Hardman spoke after the game saying he had no idea Hill wasn’t going to go until it was time to play.
“We didn’t know Tyreek wasn’t playing until the start of the game, so it was like, ‘What are we doing?’ I didn’t know we were going to play the whole first half, but it was cool though. It was good to get a lot of reps out there, get some targets and some catches.”
Included among Hardman’s catches was this impressive grab in the end zone on an underthrown pass from Chad Henne that went for a touchdown.
“It took me a minute to find the ball, so when I did find it, I knew it was going to be short, so I was like, ‘Alright, let’s get this. Don’t drop it,'” said Hardman.
After the game, Reid also noted that two of his top running backs were hurting after the game, including Clyde Edwards-Helaire and Darrel Wiliams, the latter of whom is in the concussion protocol. Knowing that health is the priority for the team’s regular season opener on September 12, it makes sense that Reid would hold out Hill and hope the rest can stay upright, too.