Chiefs’ Tyreek Hill captures AFC Offensive Player of the Week honor

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Tyreek Hill scored on a rush, pass and kick return Sunday night against the Denver Broncos, and now the Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver scored an AFC Offensive Player of the Week honor.

Kansas City Chiefs wide Receiver Tyreek Hill celebrates after scoring a touchdown against the New Orleans Saints. Sunday October 23, 2016 in Kansas City, MO (Nick Tre. Smith/Special to The Topeka Capital-Journal)

Kansas City Chiefs wide Receiver Tyreek Hill celebrates after scoring a touchdown against the New Orleans Saints. Sunday October 23, 2016 in Kansas City, MO (Nick Tre. Smith/Special to The Topeka Capital-Journal)

Hill never dreamed on a difficult draft day when character concerns took center stage that he would become such an important part of the team’s offense so quickly.

“No,” Hill said. “I guess it just happens. You just play hard, you just stay hungry and you just try to keep up with the other guys.”

The rookie ran away with the award for becoming the first player to score on a rush, pass and kick return in the same since 1965. The last player to accomplish the trifecta was for Kansas Jayhawk great Gale Sayers.

Hill caught nine passes for 52 yards and a touchdown, rushed for a 3-yard touchdown score and returned a free kick following a safety for an 86-yard touchdown against the Broncos.

His role in the offense continues to grow, particularly following an injury to starter Jeremy Maclin. He played just 10 snaps on offensive in the first game of the season against San Diego, but played a season-high 59 snaps Sunday against Denver.

Hill becomes the third Chiefs player to win a weekly AFC award this season. Cornerback Marcus Peters and safety Eric Berry captured AFC Defensive Player of the Week honors in weeks three and 10 respectively.

The rookie ranks second on the team in receiving with 428 yards on 45 receptions with five touchdowns. He’s on pace for 622 receiving yards. Only two first-year players have posted more yards in their rookie campaigns under coach Andy Reid: DeSean Jackson (912) and Jeremy Maclin (773).

“Every week it’s getting tougher and tougher,” Hill said. “Coach Reid is definitely adding plays to the playbook. It’s up to us to understand the playbook and learn it. It’s not been easy, but I feel like I’m pretty smart.”

Reid called the award a tribute to what Hill has accomplished thus far as a rookie.

“I’m probably more proud of him for what he’s doing off the field than on the field, but it’s well deserved,” Reid said. “But there’s a lot that goes into that too for him to even be out here doing what he’s doing.”

Hill arrived in Kansas City following the draft amid an air of controversy. He received his dismissal from the Oklahoma State football team in January 2015 following an arrest the previous month for domestic abuse. He pleaded guilty to the charge in August 2015 and received three years probation.

Reid and team chairman and CEO Clark Hunt said following his selection Hill holds certain obligations under both the terms of his probation and the team’s expectations that must be met. The coach said Hill continues to do do everything the team asks of him off the field.

“He’s handled himself in a good way,” Reid said. “There haven’t been any issues, which is a positive. ”

Hill acknowledge those  requirements includes classes and therapy sessions.

“I make sure I do those things in order for me to be a better person,” Hill said. “I’m real dedicated, and I’m going to stick to it so I can be a better man and a better citizen for this community and a better father to my son.”

He admits that his first season in the NFL has been challenging at times.

“It’s definitely not be easy but it’s been fun,” Hill said. “I’ve learned a lot and I’ve definitely matured through it all.”

Hill thanked his coaches, teammates and the entire Chiefs organization for their support through the process.

“I came a long way,” Hill said. “I got to thank those guys for believing in me.”

The support and trust from his head coach and teammate means a great deal to the rookie.

“It definitely builds my confidence coming from a legend like Andy Reid,” Hill said. “Just to hear it from my teammates. I used to look up to some of these guys, so it definitely builds my confidence. When you have confidence, it makes you play better.”

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Matt Derrick is the lead beat writer for ChiefsDigest.com and the Topeka Capital-Journal. Use the contact page to reach him or find him on Twitter: @MattDerrick.


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