Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes said all the right things in response to Tyreek Hill’s podcast comments, but some question his word choice.
Mahomes clarified that the Chiefs “still love” Hill, and Mahomes called him a “one-of-a-kind player.” Everything Mahomes said was positive, but small modifiers, like saying the Chiefs “still” love Hill, had some questioning about the true meaning behind Mahomes’ word choices.
NFL reporter Dov Kleiman asked why Mahomes used the word “still”, as if Hill had done something to no longer deserve that love from his longtime quarterback.
“Why wouldn’t you anymore?” Kleiman wrote. “He’s not allowed to speak his truth because you love him?”
Did Patrick Mahomes take sly shots back at Tyreek Hill?
Everything that Mahomes said to diffuse the Hill situation seemed to align with what a locker room leader would do: dismiss the drama and bring everything back to the team.
But to Kleiman’s point, Mahomes did make some interesting word choices, using particular themes and phrases to respond to Hill.
For example, Mahomes called Hill a “one-of-a-kind” player. While this is true, and it’s considerate for Mahomes to put Hill in his own category as a wide receiver, this is also grates against what Hill did in the first place: comparing Mahomes to Tagovailoa. While Hill has tried to explain that he didn’t intend to insult Mahomes and instead tried to stand up for his new quarterback, Mahomes makes it clear that he doesn’t want to insult Hill with a comparison — because Hill’s comparison was inherently insulting.
Then, Mahomes pivoted and began talking about how everyone on the team matters, including head coach Andy Reid.
“But as you know, in Coach Reid’s offsense, it takes the whole team. This offense was rolling before I got here, this offense was rolling when I was a young Cowboys fan watching the Eagles beat up on the Cowboys. It’s an offense that includes more than one player, and that includes myself.”
Considering that Hill left over a contract dispute and is now saying he didn’t feel valued in KC, reminding everyone that Chiefs dominance is a team effort isn’t only true — it might be a reminder to Hill that, “Hey, our success wasn’t all because of you or me, and we need to acknowledge that.” It’s a good quality in Mahomes that he wants to shower praise on his coach and teammates, but it may also be a subtle nudge to Hill that he shouldn’t prioritize himself over the team.
When asked about the last time he spoke with Hill, Mahomes said that it was at the Formula 1 race in Miami in May.
“Everything seemed fine,” Mahomes laughed.
Everything seemed fine when the two last spoke, but considering that Mahomes was “surprised” by Hill’s comments in the first place, this implies that…maybe everything isn’t fine, and Mahomes doesn’t really know how Hill thinks or feels about his time in KC at this point. The teammates who spent years with Hill sent him to Miami with praise and congratulations, but the podcast comments revealed that Hill was less than happy on his end. Mahomes thought that all was good, but laughing about how things seemed fine leaves room for the fact that perhaps they aren’t.
It’s been a difficult offseason for everyone in Kansas City, and aside from losing Hill’s talent on offense, Mahomes also lost a friend and teammate that he built a dynasty alongside at Arrowhead. It’s clearly been hard on everyone, and while Mahomes didn’t want to hurt Hill, it seems that to some extent, Hill’s comments did hurt him.
He was surprised, but he still loves Hill — even though there may be love lost on Hill’s end. Or, as Mahomes joked, maybe Hill did all this just to “get his podcast rolling.”