MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. – Tyreek Hill is fast on the field, fast with his words and fast at making a first impression.
Consider this list of highlights from Hill’s first full day as a member of the Miami Dolphins: The wide receiver who calls himself “Cheetah” raved about new coach Mike McDaniel's offense, revealed that the record-setting value of his new contract nearly made him cry and challenged teammates to footraces.
“Wherever I go, the Cheetah, he always has to prove he’s the fastest on the team, no matter what,” Hill said. “I mean that.”
The Dolphins hope he’s going to win more than sprints.
Miami introduced the biggest two names from its offseason and free-agency makeover — Hill and offensive lineman Terron Armstead — on Thursday, and neither made any effort to hide their belief that the Dolphins are poised to take big steps forward this fall.
“Every team at this point feels like a Super Bowl contender. All 32,” Armstead said. “It’s not true. We can talk about what it looks like on paper; I’ve been doing it long enough to know that doesn’t really matter. ... I’m going to say we’ll be Super Bowl champions, but you go see anybody else, they’re going to say the same thing.”
Hill got an extension from the Dolphins worth $120 million over four years as part of the trade that landed him from Kansas City, with $72.2 million guaranteed. He says the only time he remembers crying was when his daughter was born.
Seeing those dollar figures almost brought more tears.
“Almost,” he said.
Armstead — the presumed starting left tackle — got a five-year deal worth $75 million, possibly close to $88 million when adding incentives, after he spent his first nine seasons with New Orleans.
Armstead said he can’t wait to see what a Dolphins receiver corps that includes two of the NFL’s fastest wideouts in Hill and Jaylen Waddle can do.
“We’re going to try to turn these Sundays into a track meet,” Armstead said. “A physical track meet; let’s not overshadow that at all. Up front, we’re going to implement that physicality, that mentality. And then speed kills, man. You try to catch them guys on the outside.”
Hill has been in the NFL for six seasons, getting picked for the Pro Bowl all six times. The Dolphins have seen their entire wide receiving corps make six Pro Bowl trips — combined — in the last 37 years. Hill has had 22 games with at least 100 receiving yards in the last five seasons; the Dolphins have 17 such games over that span.
Put simply, Hill gives the Dolphins something they just haven’t had.
“I don’t blink, dawg,” Hill said. “I don’t believe in pressure, dawg. I make the pressure.”
Hill was choosing between potential trades with the Dolphins and New York Jets at the end, once it became clear that he and Kansas City would be parting ways. Hill said he knew all along he’d pick Miami, given the proximity to family and that he often has offseason workouts in South Florida.
If he had any doubts, McDaniel might have cast them aside when he explained how Hill would get the ball in his offense.
“He was like, ‘Just be you, Ree. Just be you, Ree.’ That’s all I can ask for, man, a coach to have my back off the field," Hill said. “He went to bat for me. ... Excited to play for him.”
Armstead donned a throwback No. 13 Dan Marino jersey for his first media availability as part of the Dolphins, something that surely will win points quickly with his new club.
“Always pay respect to the legends,” Armstead said.
When he visited the Dolphins, Armstead saw Marino’s office. He thought it was there as a tribute, unaware that Marino indeed works for the team — he’s officially listed as a special adviser, which basically means he can do whatever he wants. When Armstead walked into the offensive staff room, he was surprised to see Marino sitting there.
“He came up and introduced himself like I didn’t know him,” Armstead said. “Which is crazy.”
Hill didn’t need to introduce himself to Armstead, either.
“Listen, come on now. Most dynamic player in the league,” Armstead said. “Always been a fan of his game, just watching. Now having him be a part of this offense, I think we’re building something. We’re building something special.”
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