On Sunday afternoon, Kansas City Chiefs WR Tyreek Hill will start his third consecutive AFC Championship Game for the team that took a fifth-round flier on him five seasons ago. Since then, the NFL’s most dynamic speedster has yet to miss a Pro Bowl, racking up over 6,000 yards from scrimmage and 53 touchdowns in 74 games.
Hill, like anyone, has also had his share of mistakes dating back to his early collegiate and NFL days. While his past transgressions complicate his legacy off the football field, the 26-year-old has come a long way in recent years on the field as well.
On Wednesday, Hill spoke to the media about some of the deeper reasons behind his success.
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Hill Embraces ‘Student of the Game’ Mentality
When asked to name a few traits that he feels have contributed to his development into an all-around receiver, Hill pointed to his willingness to listen and welcome input from others as driving factors.
“The one thing I’m really proud of is just being able to learn from different guys and just being able to take coaching from coach [Andy] Reid or Greg [Lewis],” Hill told reporters during his Wednesday press conference. “Just being able to be a student of the game. When you come into the league, you think you hot s*** — fifth-round draft pick — so you automatically think you the man. I feel like most guys don’t take what’s given to them. Same thing with [Travis] Kelce. He came in, he was able to be coached by one of the greatest coaches ever.
“That’s kind of what I’m very appreciative of. Just being a student of the game, just being able to learn from different minds and just hear different perspectives. The same thing [New York Jets head coach] Robert Saleh said about bringing all these different coaches in and stuff like that, hearing from different point of views — because not one coach is going to be able to give you all of the information to be the best wide receiver.”
Hill Thanks Andy Reid for ‘Dream Come True’ on Sunday
Hill played a large part in last Sunday’s AFC Divisional win over the Cleveland Browns. He bested Kelce by just a single receiving yard for the team lead (110), the last of which came on a critical five-yard completion from backup QB Chad Henne on fourth-and-inches to win the game.
On Wednesday, the two-time All-Pro selection further reflected on the significance of that play and the trust from head coach Andy Reid that brought it to fruition.
“It means a lot,” Hill said. “That means I’ve come a long way from the return specialist days. That makes me feel like a great. Growing up, I’ve always dreamed about being in the NFL and making those splash plays, when you’re on ESPN and they roll the play back. I’ve always dreamed of moments like that and for me, that’s a dream come true. Coach Reid, thank you for that moment. Thanks to you Coach Reid, thank you.”
Hill will undoubtedly be relied upon again on Sunday when the No. 2 seeded Buffalo Bills visit Arrowhead Stadium for their first chance at a Super Bowl since 1993. “The Cheetah” is expected to draw a highly anticipated matchup opposite All-Pro counterpart Tre’Davious White, whom Hill called a “tremendous player” on Wednesday.
It’s worth noting that the Chiefs’ top wideout was held to his lowest output of the season — just three catches for 20 yards — during the teams’ Week 6 matchup in October. But considering Kansas City rushed a season-high 46 times for 245 yards in the 26-17 victory, Sunday’s game flow between the league’s No. 1 and No. 2 offenses should be a bit more pass friendly for Hill and company.
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Chris Licata is an NFL contributor covering the Kansas City Chiefs from enemy territory in Denver, Colorado. Follow him on Twitter @Chris__Licata or join the Heavy on Chiefs Facebook community for the latest out of Chiefs Kingdom!