Tyreek Hill’s role wasn’t clearly defined entering his rookie year. That won’t be the case this season.
The Chiefs are shaping Hill into a primary wide receiver target, maintaining his punt return duties but surrendering the bulk of his kick return assignments.
Hill said he just does what’s asked of him, and he has approached his second training camp with the same attitude that he brought to his first.
“I still feel like I’m a guy trying to make the team, just like any other guy,” Hill said. “I come out and give 100 percent every time I’m on the field. I come out and play like I’m on the edge of being cut, because you never know.”
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Yes, the Chiefs know. Hill isn’t on the edge of getting cut. Far from it. He’s the team’s top returning wide receiver and return man.
A year ago, the Chiefs believed they had a solid special teams candidate in Hill, their fifth-round draft choice. He produced beyond expectations. His 12 touchdowns led the team, and he was a dynamic presence, especially in the second half of the season.
Hill wants to build on that total, and all training camp indicators suggest that’s possible. Hill has been a camp star, building a rapport with quarterback Alex Smith. Fans who have attended camp at Missouri Western are treated daily to a long Smith-to-Hill connection.
On Sunday, Hill added a long punt return, becoming a blur as he went untouched nearly the length of the field. Perhaps he hears former teammate Jeremy Maclin as he bolts toward the end zone.
“Mac told me last year, make one play a day, so that’s what I try to live by,” Hill said.
Hill will be making fewer plays in kickoff returns. DeAnthony Thomas is likely to handle those duties most this season.
“He’s done a good job, worked hard in the offseason and came back in great shape,” head coach Andy Reid said of Thomas.
“Takes a little bit off Tyreek’s plate,” Reid said.