'I'm the Cheetah, man': Tyreek Hill brings swagger, speed to Miami Dolphins

Hal Habib
Palm Beach Post

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — Tackle Terron Armstead was done speaking. It was receiver Tyreek Hill’s turn.

Hill rose from his front-row seat, but instead of taking the podium for reporters covering the Dolphins, he dashed out the door in search of a restroom, explaining upon returning that he had been waiting because didn’t want to be rude to Armstead. Appreciating that Hill was gone only 1½ minutes, someone remarked he’s even the fastest guy to the restroom.

“Hey, yo,” Hill replied. “Yeah. Quick, baby. Cheetah.”

Then things turned wild.

Hill talked about being so happy to join the Dolphins, he could kiss agent Drew Rosenhaus.

He talked about racing receiver Jaylen Waddle and 304-pound Armstead to prove he’s the fastest guy on the team.

He talked about celebrating with some Hennessy.

He talked about talking.

Turns out Hill not only talks on a podium but on a football field.

"C'mon, that’s what I do, baby,” he said. “I'm the Cheetah, man. That’s what cheetahs do to lions. You can’t catch me.”

Maybe lions can’t but Dolphins can, dangling a three-year, $75 million contract extension as bait that Hill, nicknamed Cheetah, snapped up a day earlier once Kansas City agreed to trade its All-Pro receiver to Miami for five picks.

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New Dolphins receiver Tyreek Hill speaks at his introductory news conference.

Star power is in Dan Marino's class

If you didn’t know there’s a new star in town — wait, how could you not? — all you had to do was listen for as long as that bathroom break. And you’d know the last time the Dolphins had someone with this much star power, this much pizzazz, probably was when No. 13 was worn for the Dolphins during a game and not just during a news conference, which Armstead did in honor of Dan Marino.

Something special just landed in our midst, all right.

“Man, look,” Hill said. “To play receiver you’ve got to be confident as heck. Because look — dropped passes and getting hit hard, you’ve got to have the swagger, my dawg. Because if you don’t got the swagger, you don’t got none of that.”

A minute earlier, Hill put his mother on the spot, challenging her to ask him something. Seated right in front of him, Mom responded by telling him to do his best. He pointed out that’s not really a question. Which makes what Hill said next about the importance of swagger so interesting.

“The person who taught me that was my mom and dad,” Hill said. “My mom is probably the cockiest person in the room right now.”

Rosenhaus has never been accused of being shy. Rosenhaus was dragged into the show by Hill as Hill described how happy he was to know he was headed to Miami. He lives in Ocala in the offseason, trains in South Florida and has relatives here.

“There’s only one time I ever cried in my life and that’s when my daughter was born,” Hill said. “I almost teared up (at the Dolphins’ offer). Just having that moment, my agent wanted me to kiss him in the mouth. I said no.”

“That’s not a true story!” Rosenhaus interjected.

Hill, unstoppable as always: “There was a lot of events that happened that we’re not going to talk about because there are kids in here.”

Everybody laughed. Again.

Mike McDaniel appears to have his Deebo Samuel now

When Mike McDaniel became the Dolphins’ new head coach, the talk was how he no longer had a Deebo Samuel, the multitalented receiver/running back he coached on the San Francisco 49ers. Seems like he does now.

“He just said, ‘Just gear up, ‘Reek,’” Hill said of McDaniel. “I’ll just say this: the way he utilized Deebo Samuel in that offense was crazy, right? Deebo Samuel is a freak athlete, so I’m just excited. That’s all I’m going to say.”

Rosenhaus shed more light on the possibilities.

“We talked to Mike McDaniel beforehand and Chris (GM Chris Grier) about what his role would be and just looking at Deebo Samuel’s role,” Rosenhaus said. “And I think the way they used Deebo Samuel is going to be a correlation of how I expect them to use Tyreek. So, the way Kansas City used him was magnificent, but I think there’s even potentially another level that you could see Tyreek in a Deebo Samuel role.”

The Hill acquisition wasn’t made by the Dolphins in a vacuum. McDaniel and Grier know that paired with Waddle, the Dolphins might have the fastest pair of receivers — not currently in the NFL but ever. Hill already contacted Waddle and is looking forward to working out with him.

“Maybe even a race, man,” Hill said. “Hey, wherever I go, the Cheetah, he’s always got to prove he’s the fastest on the team.”

Hill no longer has Patrick Mahomes throwing to him. But he’s confident Tua Tagovailoa can deliver the goods, too.

“Tua is one of the most accurate quarterbacks in the NFL,” Hill said. “So just his ball placement, getting us the ball in space, perfect placement and us just utilizing our speed, utilizing our best asset.”

If anyone knows about assets, it’s the richest receiver in football.

Hill has his money.

Rosenhaus?

Still waiting for that kiss.