Despite initial ‘shock’ of losing Tyreek Hill, Patrick Mahomes knows Chiefs have ‘got to keep rolling’
Patrick Mahomes has been a supernova of success and statistics since taking over the reins as the Kansas City Chiefs’ quarterback.
However, each season Mahomes has been at the helm, he’s been flanked by Tyreek Hill at wide receiver. That will change in the 2022 season, of course, with Hill having been traded to the Miami Dolphins and reeling in a huge new contract.
It was a stunning turn of events for Mahomes, but one he realizes is simply the business of the game.
“Obviously my initial reaction was a little bit of shock,” Mahomes told reporters Monday, via the team transcript. “Even though I knew this was a possibility, he’s a guy that we’ve built a friendship with over the last six years. You didn’t want him to leave, more just for the being able to hang out in the locker room and do that stuff more than just the on-the-field stuff. But you’re happy for him, he got a great contract and he’s back where he has a house in the offseason, he’s around a lot of his family. I wish the best for him.”
In his six seasons with the Chiefs, Hill racked up 479 receptions for 6,630 yards, 56 touchdowns and six Pro Bowls. Along with Travis Kelce, Hill had been a go-to option for Mahomes since he took over the team’s starting QB spot in 2018, but the all-world quarterback knows the band must keep playing. With Kelce, Mecole Hardman, new additions JuJu Smith-Schuster and Marquez Valdes-Scantling and perhaps some draft picks in the mix, Mahomes is already fast at work looking to keep things running smoothly for the six-time-reigning AFC West champions.
“We’ve got to keep rolling, that’s how it is in this league,” Mahomes said. “It’s a business as much as it is about your friendships and stuff like that. We know that to keep having success in this league, we have to keep evolving, keep getting better. I got with these new receivers to try and build that as quickly as possible so we can have success right when we get going this year.”
Mahomes has been in Texas working out with receivers and building chemistry. Though getting together with your wideouts in the offseason is hardly a novel concept, the 26-year-old former AP NFL Most Valuable Player knows Hill’s loss can’t be overlooked and work has to be put in.
“It is definitely going to be different in a sense, but I feel like we still have a strong foundation of guys that have been here over the last few years,” Mahomes said. “Then with coach [Andy] Reid, coach [Eric] Bieniemy and then having a guy like coach [Matt] Nagy back, he’s someone that I’ve worked with before, so I have that commonality. As far as on the field, we brought in some different receivers, but we still have guys like Travis Kelce who can help teach the ways that we practice. Mecole can do that as well. We’ll have to find production in different ways then we did last year because Tyreek was such a big part of our offense. I think you’ve seen in games where we haven’t had Tyreek, or we haven’t had certain people, other guys have stepped up and made plays happen and I expect that to happen this year as well.”
Hill missed a few games over the years, including four during the Chiefs’ 2019 Super Bowl season.
“I don’t think it will be significantly different,” Reid said. “It will be similar to what we did in games that Tyreek couldn’t play in. There were certain things that he did very well that we’ll have people try to fill in those spots without forcing anything. What we normally do on this is we try to play to the players’ strengths the best we can, so we’ll see with some of the new guys, see what they can do. And then we’ll work around that.”
Working around the absence of Hill is now permanent, though.
And so it goes that Mahomes’ aforementioned initial shock has worn off and become the reality of a new chapter for the AFC heavyweight in K.C. Life for the Chiefs and their star quarterback without Hill has begun.
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