KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Sixty-seven players took the field Saturday, which marked the first day of Chiefs rookie minicamp, but the spotlight fell on wide receiver Tyreek Hill.
Hill made his first public appearance since being selected in the fifth round of the 2016 NFL Draft and absorbed numerous questions.
The queries, however, weren’t typical of a fifth-round pick and the subject of football barely came up.
Instead, Hill stood in front of reporters and assumed full responsibility for his actions in December 2014 that led to felony domestic assault and battery related to charges he struck and choked his then-pregnant girlfriend.
“I don’t blame nobody but myself,” Hill said. “It’s my fault and it’s my mistake, can’t nobody live my life but me, so I just got to deal with it.”
The fan backlash on social media and local talk radio shows in the past week was mostly negative towards the Chiefs for selecting Hill in the 2016 NFL Draft.
While Hill said he was unaware of the criticism, he understood how many team supporters could have ill feelings.
“Those fans have every right to be mad at me,” Hill said. “I did something wrong and I just let my emotions get the best of me and I shouldn’t have done it. They have every right to be mad.”
Hill, who was dismissed from the Oklahoma State football team in January 2015, eventually pleaded guilty to the charge in August 2015. He received three years of probation and part of the special conditions of his deal calls for the completion of an anger management course and a 52-week batterer’s program.
The Chiefs did their due diligence in the vetting process, including talking to Payne County (Okla.) district attorney Laura Thomas.
Coach Andy Reid reinforced his comfort level with the background checks before the Chiefs decided to make Hill a member of the Chiefs.
“I believe it’s important that you do your homework,” Reid said. “Every situation is different. I know (general manager John) Dorse(y) and his guys did that.
“I really wasn’t involved in that part of it, but I know every possible stone that they could overturn, they did. And so within that along with the part that I mentioned after the draft that the young man is trying to do the right things, whether it’s with counseling, whatever it is, he’s trying to do the right things to better himself.”
The selection of Hill comes with risk, of course, and another off-field incident could land the rookie wide receiver in trouble with the NFL.
Reid, however, preferred not to address hypothetical scenarios.
“Listen, I’m not much into the crystal ball looking into the future,” Reid said. “We do enough homework where we feel he’s headed in the right direction and deserves a second chance.”
Hill said he arrived in Kansas City on Friday morning and now wants to show people who he really is.
“Going forward, I just want people to know that I’m a hard working kid, dedicated to what he does,” he said. “Really, a good citizen, a good teammate, and like I said, a good hard worker who is trying to help the team out.”
And with a desire to put his past behind him, the chance to be selected in the draft and potentially play in the NFL isn’t lost on Hill.
“I’m just thankful for the opportunity,” Hill said. “I met the owner, Mr. (Clark) Hunt, and Mr. Dorsey, Coach Reid, I’m just real thankful for those guys for just believing in me.”