Tyreek Hill selects short-term gains over long-term value

Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports /

Former Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill is consciously making short-term decisions instead of thinking about long-term legacy.

It is possible that when a player is contractually looking at an average of $30 million per year for the next few seasons, he could care less about someone pointing out the short-term versus long-term value when it comes to his attitude and conduct. Still, at some point, it seems safe to say that Tyreek Hill will one day realize the error of his ways.

If you’ve been sitting on a beach disconnected from the world so far this summer (good for you, by the way), then you might have missed the dust-up created by a new podcast from Hill now that he’s in Miami. It’s entitled It Needed To Be Said, and Hill is apparently passionate about having an outlet upon which he can tell the stories he wants—including his side of the trade away from the Kansas City Chiefs earlier this spring.

Just like any other new (or old) media venture, controversial talking points are especially helpful and Hill’s crew did a good job editing the podcast of creating waves in the days before the release of the first episode. Teaser clips alluded to the idea that Hill had salacious details about his departure from the team, and specifically, there were murmurs that he might have felt underutilized by the Chiefs—yes, the same team that overwhelmed him with targets and opportunities within a historic offense for the last six seasons.

With the release of the podcast itself, or at least this first episode, things have only gotten worse. Hill insisted he was still open to giving the Chiefs a discount of millions per season to make something work instead of the $30 million average he received from Miami. He also stated that his new quarterback in Miami, Tua Tagovailoa, is more accurate than Patrick Mahomes. Beyond this, Hill also leaned into the underutilized question that was teased and stated that he wished the Chiefs would have given him the ball more.

"“If teams are gonna give us favorable one-on-one matches against their best corner, I don’t see why teams don’t utilize their best receiver,” Hill said. “And that’s where probably like me and the Chiefs fell apart right there. When I’m like, yo, I don’t mean to talk or be a diva in some situation, but can I see the pill some time, please? Just give me the ball, please.”"

As if the teaser clips were not enough, the full quotes in context from the first full episode detailing “the trade” from Hill were enough to shut down any and all goodwill remaining from some fans in Chiefs Kingdom. It doesn’t take long to scroll on social media before finding bitter takes on Hill—and it’s likely even further coverage or analysis here of Hill will prompt some to say, “Move on already!”

But what’s sad here is that Hill doesn’t seem to realize the ways in which his long-term legacy is slipping away for the sake of some short-term gains. It’s safe to say the metrics for his new podcast are likely solid. He has a lot of the NFL talking right now in the doldrums of the offseason, which is certainly a way to generate attention. But he’s casting shade on an organization that did right by him at every turn—and he even says as much.

At the same time that these clips and quotes have generated controversy, Hill has also been giving interviews saying how much he loves his former Chiefs teammates, how much love he has for Chiefs Kingdom, and that he wants to return and retire with the organization at some point. He’s also stated some people overreacted to “bait” of the initial podcast clips, only to then hear the actual clips backing up the angered responses when released.

In short, Hill sounds like a man who is either completely ignorant of how he’s coming across to fans, or else he’s just hoping to play both sides. And neither one of those is going to work. Hill was a man who’d earned plenty of credibility as the best wide receiver in team history. In fact, one more half-season of production would have set every new highs in every statistical staple if he’d only stuck around.

The frustrating factor in all of this is that Hill was content to throw his former team under the bus for the sake of some clicks. He cashed in serious credibility in order to generate temporary chatter. He’s undermined his ability to be appreciated long-term for the sake of some zeitgeist moments in ’22. And in time he will see that none of this was worth it.

There’s a famous biblical story of two brothers, Jacob and Esau, and the lessons learned when one brother, Esau, when extremely hungry, will do anything to satisfy his immediate hunger. He ends up trading his birthright to his brother for some soup, giving away long-term inheritance for the sake of some short-term satisfaction. It’s a parable of the perils of cashing it in versus keeping it, and we’re witnessing a new tale unfold in real-time.

Time will likely heal some of these wounds, but his legacy is forever tarnished for some fans and it didn’t have to be this way. Not everything needs to be said, despite the podcast title. Sometimes the metrics aren’t worth chasing. And despite all the wealth he will acquire in the next few years, there are some bits of value that Hill will find himself missing one day, realizing he made a series of short-term decisions that cost him a long-term legacy.

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