Was Patrick Mahomes being petty in his retort to Tyreek Hill?

In response to Tyreek Hill’s podcast comments, Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes said all the right things, but some questioned his word choice.

Patrick Mahomes seemed to say all the right things in response to Tyreek Hill’s podcast regarding Tua Tagovailoa being the more “accurate” quarterback.

The Chiefs “still love” Hill, according to Mahomes, who described him as a “one-of-a-kind athlete.” Everything Mahomes said was nice, but subtle modifiers like declaring the Chiefs “still” adore Hill raised questions about Mahomes’ genuine meaning.

Dov Kleiman, an NFL reporter, questioned why Mahomes used the term “still,” as if Hill had done something to make him no longer deserving of his longtime quarterback’s affection.

“Why wouldn’t you?” says the narrator. Kleiman penned the piece. “Because you adore him, he’s not permitted to speak his mind?”

Did Patrick Mahomes retaliate with a subtle shot at Tyreek Hill?

Everything Mahomes said to defuse the Hill situation seemed like something a locker room leader would say: disregard the drama and return the focus to the team.

To Kleiman’s point, Mahomes did make some fascinating word choices in his response to Hill, using certain themes and words.

Hill, for example, was described by Mahomes as a “one-of-a-kind” athlete. While this is correct, and Mahomes is being courteous by putting Hill in his own category as a wide receiver, it also contradicts what Hill did in the first place: comparing Mahomes to Tagovailoa.

While Hill has tried to explain that he didn’t mean to offend Mahomes and was instead trying to defend his new quarterback, Mahomes has made it clear that he doesn’t want to disrespect Hill with a comparison because Hill’s comparison was inherently offensive.

Then Mahomes shifted gears and began discussing how important everyone on the team is, especially head coach Andy Reid.

“But as you know, in Coach Reid’s offsense, it takes the whole team. This offense was rolling before I got here, this offense was rolling when I was a young Cowboys fan watching the Eagles beat up on the Cowboys. It’s an offense that includes more than one player, and that includes myself.”

Given that Hill left over a contract dispute and now claims he didn’t feel valued in Kansas City, reminding everyone that the Chiefs’ dominance is a team effort isn’t only accurate — it could also serve as a reminder to Hill that, “Hey, our success wasn’t all because of you or me, and we need to acknowledge that.”

It’s a positive trait in Mahomes to want to thank his coach and teammates, but it might also be a hidden message to Hill that he shouldn’t put himself first.

When asked when he last spoke with Hill, Mahomes claimed it was in May at the Formula One event in Miami.

“Everything appeared to be fine,” Mahomes joked.

Everything appeared to be good when the two last spoke, but the fact that Mahomes was “surprised” by Hill’s words suggests that…maybe things aren’t fine, and Mahomes has no idea how Hill feels about his time in Kansas City at this point.

Hill’s colleagues praised and congratulated him on his move to Miami, but Hill’s podcast comments suggested that he was dissatisfied on his end. Mahomes believed everything was fine, but laughing about how things appeared to be fine allows the possibility that they aren’t.

Everyone in Kansas City has had a terrible offseason, and in addition to losing Hill’s offensive skill, Mahomes has also lost a friend and teammate with whom he built a dynasty at Arrowhead. It’s certainly been difficult for everyone, and while Mahomes didn’t mean to upset Hill, it appears that his comments did.

He was taken aback, but he still cares for Hill, even if there is no love lost on Hill’s end. Maybe Hill did it all to “get his podcast moving,” as Mahomes quipped.