Chiefs’ Clark Hunt says team hasn’t changed vetting practices amid Hill investigation

On this weekend three years ago, Kansas City Chiefs brass sat at a dais and expressed confidence in the organization’s ability to completely vet the troubling past of wide receiver Tyreek Hill.

“There has to be a certain trust here, but there’s just things that we can’t go into and go through,” coach Andy Reid said then. “We want people to understand, like (former general manager John Dorsey) said, we’re not going to do anything to put this community or this organization in a bind.

“We uncovered every possible stone that we possibly could, and we feel very comfortable with that part of it.”

On Saturday morning, team CEO and chairman Clark Hunt admitted there are risks that come with drafting anyone.

“I think on any player that you bring into the organization, there’s some element of risk,” Hunt said. “Could be his playing ability, could be things that distract him off the field, as well as trouble they get into. That’s a risk that you take.

“It’s something that, as a franchise, we have to be willing to own when it doesn’t go the right way. It’s something that I believe, and it’s something that Brett believes as well.”

Hunt said that while the franchise hasn’t changed the way it vets potential players, each general manager has his own philosophy when it comes to researching prospects, and Veach’s staff has its own methods of doing that.

“You know every general manager has a feel for the type of guys they’re looking for,” he said. “I could go back to when Scott Pioli joined us. In one of his first drafts, almost every one of those players was a team captain and that was something he was looking for. I know character is very important to Brett and something he spends a lot of time on.”

Hunt’s comments come in the wake of the publication of audio conversation between Hill and his fiancee Crystal Espinal regarding the parenting and punishment of their 3-year-old son. In the audio, Espinal tells Hill that their son is scared of him and that Hill punches him in the chest and hits him with a belt.

Espinal also says in the audio that their son tells people Hill broke his arm.

“’Daddy did it,’” Espinal, could be heard saying, paraphrasing the boy. “He is terrified of you.”

Hill responded, according to the recording: “You need to be terrified of me, too, b----.”

Since the release of the audio, a criminal investigation into Hill has been reopened, and the Chiefs have suspended Hill from team activities for the “foreseeable future” while they review the situation.

Citing the ongoing investigation, Hunt declined to share any details of the Chiefs’ review process or a timeline for a resolution.

Unlike five months earlier, when a video published by TMZ led to Kareem Hunt’s near-immediate dismissal, the Chiefs have been slow to take permanent action against Hill. Part of that, Clark Hunt said, is the existing criminal investigation into Hill.

“I really can’t (talk about it) because that goes back to the ongoing investigation with Tyreek and really our ability to get information,” Hunt said. “That audio was really among the first information we received of the investigation.”

But Hunt emphasized Hill’s suspension when asked if the difference between the situations involving Hunt and Hill truly came down to the ongoing criminal investigation.

“I would just point out that Tyreek is not with the franchise right now, and we’re going to go through the process, and as Brett said, we’ll make the right decision about Tyreek at the right time”

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Brooke Pryor covers the Kansas City Chiefs for the Kansas City Star, where she works to give readers a deeper understanding of the franchise and the NFL through daily stories, game coverage, and player profiles. She attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and grew up in Winston-Salem, N.C.