Why does Tyreek Hill insist on playing the heel for Chiefs Kingdom?

For a guy whose skill set and style of play stand out as much as any other star in the NFL, Tyreek Hill continues a pattern of finding undesirable notoriety.

New York Jets v Miami Dolphins
New York Jets v Miami Dolphins / Cliff Hawkins/GettyImages
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Kansas City Chiefs fans have enjoyed the luxury of watching several players in recent years that will conjure memories and a response akin to, "Man, that guy was fun to watch." Wide receiver Tyreek Hill was one of those guys from 2016 to 2021. Chiefs Kingdom was lucky to get to see his once-in-a-generation explosiveness work for the Chiefs in a couple of Super Bowl appearances, including one win. We were thrilled to experience "Jet Chip Wasp". It was exhilarating to watch one of the more prolific, albeit short-lived, WR/QB combos in league history with Hill and Patrick Mahomes.

During Hill's tenure with the Chiefs, fans saw a trio of offensive players considered the league's best. It was an offense unstoppable in part because of Hill's unique ability to wreck any and every game plan in multiple ways. Hill provided plenty of ups and fans supported Hill when times were down—especially when looking bleak for Hill at key points. The Kingdom was also fortunate to get the version of Hill who chose to let his play, for the most part, do the talking.

It's no secret to anyone that the decision to trade Hill in March of 2022 wasn't an easy one for the organization, the fan base, or Hill himself. Two of those three parties have done a pretty exceptional job of moving on and building anew, about as resiliently and successfully as an organization can. The third party is Tyreek Hill.

Don't get me wrong, Hill had an outstanding inaugural season in Miami in 2022. Hill was again a First-Team All-Pro and helped springboard the Dolphins back into the postseason picture, even with a late-season carousel generated by injuries at the quarterback position. If only he would let his play speak for itself (or even choose to talk about his play more than he does his old team).

On Wednesday, Hill had more to say, and while he may not have specifically mentioned the Chiefs in the comment (rather, no Chiefs names, images, or likenesses were noted in the tweet), the message was crystal clear.

Petty may be the wrong word. At the root of pettiness, you almost always find a steady level of calculation. People who throw the best darts are the most fixated, and Hill just seems to be on some sort of 16-month-long tangent with no real objective. When Hill was traded, it was almost a unanimously unspoken agreement among Chiefs fans that he would always be a franchise legend, a generally beloved player as long as both parties handled the split gracefully. The Chiefs have, but Hill has handled it like a pro wrestler whose character got rewritten.

I've got to put this out there: I think getting worked up about what Tyreek Hill says probably isn't where we need to go as a fan base. Is it annoying? Yes, without question. Is it worth spending any type of emotional currency on? No. But football makes you do things that you wouldn't normally do, so we're naturally going to get worked up about it.

Hill's continued dalliance in stoking the fire of the Chiefs and their fans has become an interesting round of very public people watching. I feel like we're entering 2008 Britney Spears territory with Hill at this point. The good news for Hill? Britney is back, and he can be too. But Hill is going to have to let a lot of things go from his past—everything from his qualms with the Chiefs and his need to be extremely vocal about them to his propensity to lose his cool and wind up at a precipice when it comes to personal conduct issues.

This all started a little over a year ago when Hill decided to start his own podcast. We should've given him the same advice many of us have gotten from both constructive and destructive people in our lives: just because you're a dude in your 20s and you think your conversations with your boys are cool, it doesn't mean you can put out a good podcast. Unfortunately, Hill's mega-stardom on the football field gives him quite the audience to share his world with, including the version of the world where Tua Tagovailoa is certainly more accurate than eventual 2022 MVP Patrick Mahomes. Visual and statistical evidence accrued over the course of these two quarterbacks' careers would indicate that this take is, in fact, sus. As a millennial using a gen z term, I feel very cool saying that.

The manufactured motivation tour would continue as Hill claimed last August that the Chiefs threw him to the wayside, treating him as some sort of piece of trash in the process of trading him to the Dolphins. Now, emotional reactions to situations like this are expected, without a doubt. The guy bled with, sweated with, and cried with his teammates in Kansas City in good times and bad. He developed lifelong friendships in Kansas City on the roster, coaching staff, and almost certainly in the front office. It came down to the fact that K.C. could not meet the market Hill demanded and then traded him to a team of his choosing and moved on. Hill, as stated earlier, couldn't figure out how to do that.

Unfortunately, it appears he's not capable of doing so. His latest comments come on the heels of Hill coming up with an incredibly creative new nickname for the Chiefs in May, and even before that, he stated he would be the Chiefs' "worst enemy" this year when the two teams meet in Germany, while in the same interview stating he'd retire when his current contract with the Dolphins ends in 2025. While the worst enemy comments were made somewhat in jest with past teammates on a Kansas City radio station, the insinuation that he would retire in 2025 makes today's comments almost feel like a calculated attempt at satire. Unfortunately, I fear it's almost certainly not.

Hill retiring in 2025 would mean he plays 4 years with the Dolphins total before ending his career after playing 6 and winning a Super Bowl in Kansas City. Unless anyone is high on the idea of Tua leading the Dolphins to 2 Super Bowl wins in the next 3 seasons, or the Dolphins pulling off a trade for Patrick Mahomes, the prospect of Hill walking away with more Lombardis in Miami than in Kansas City is about as out there as you can get. But, it appears that's just the world Hill lives in at this point.

Does it ultimately matter if Hill goes into the Hall as a Chief or a Dolphin? Of course not. He can do whatever he wants, and for all we know he has a great connection with the people and the organization in Miami. Or they paid him $120 million and no one in his family has to worry about anything financially for a long time, if ever. Either way, loyalties can change.

While the Hall of Fame distinction might not make a big difference, Hill may be costing himself another distinction: induction into the Chiefs Ring of Honor. This is something that a year ago almost seemed like a certainty as a post-retirement destination for part of Hill's legacy. At this point, that looks like it's becoming more and more of a longshot.

When Chiefs fans look back on this era, they will remember Andy Reid, Patrick Mahomes, Travis Kelce, and a handful of others. Chris Jones's name will certainly come up in the conversation. Players like Nick Bolton will be talked about for Super Bowl heroics, and Hill's name could easily have been one that was remembered in favor forever. But with the continued backhands that Chiefs Kingdom continues to absorb from Hill, for what appears to be no good reason, the memories are in the process of being soured beyond repair.

You can only hope Hill learns to appreciate his past while still being able to enjoy his current situation and be excited about his future. Oh, and to keep his hands to himself.

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