Tyreek Hill spent last offseason as the focal point of a child-abuse probe.
The Kansas City Chiefs suspended the All-Pro wide receiver from offseason activities as authorities investigated the alleged battery of his 3-year-old son.
In April, prosecutors determined that “a child has been hurt,” but stated they “could not conclusively establish who committed the crime against this child,” calling it a “whodunnit.”
Authorities opened the investigation after Hill’s son suffered a broken arm.
Hunt: ‘He’s an outstanding father’
On Tuesday, Chiefs chairman Clark Hunt praised Hill for his maturity and his fatherhood as Kansas City prepared to play in Sunday’s Super Bowl against the San Francisco 49ers.
“We've seen Tyreek with his son here over the last couple of years,” Hunt told reporters, per ESPN. "I think to a person, people in the organization would tell you that he's an outstanding father.”
The Chiefs reinstated Hill after the conclusion of the criminal investigation and signed him to a three-year, $54 million contract extension. Hill earned his fourth Pro Bowl nod in as many seasons after tallying 58 catches for 890 yards and seven touchdowns in an injury-shortened campaign that saw him play 12 games.
He remains one of the NFL’s most dangerous weapons on the field and is arguably the league’s biggest playmaker at his position. He’ll be a focal point on Sunday.
‘He always was where he was supposed to be’
“His first year with us, there were some question marks coming into the league,” Hunt said. “We never had any issues with him. He always was where he was supposed to be, doing what he was supposed to be doing, accountable to the team, listening to his coaches, a good teammate.”
Hill talks about relationship with son
Hill cited his faith as helping him work through last year’s tumultuous offseason.
“I had a rough patch or whatever but I was able to bounce through because of my faith and because of the people I had around me and my supporting cast,” Hill told reporters on Monday, per USA Today. “And I was able to still see my son, you know, and he knows what’s going on.”
He says that he has a good relationship with his son.
“Having my son around me during those moments was the real thing I needed, like, hey buddy, I’m always going to be there, I’m always going to be your father,” Hill said. “I love you. And he still tells me to this day, ‘Daddy, you’re my best friend no matter what.’”
Hill’s domestic violence history
The Chiefs drafted Hunt in 2016 out of West Alabama. Hill starred at Oklahoma State before the program dismissed him in 2014 after an arrest for choking his pregnant girlfriend Crystal Espinal, who is the mother of the child at the center of last year’s child abuse probe. He pleaded guilty to punching and choking Espinal and received three years probation.
Hill dropped to the fifth round of the draft because of his domestic violence history.
Espinal was heard on an audio recording made public in April that their son told investigators “daddy punches me.” Hill is heard in the same recording telling Espinal “I didn’t do nothing.”
Hill denied harming his son in a four-page letter to the NFL in May. The NFL declined to find Hill in violation of the league’s personal conduct policy in July, leading to his reinstatement with the Chiefs.
“I think we've seen that grow the last three or four years,” Hunt said Tuesday. “Certainly I sense a heightened level of maturity from him this year, which is probably a byproduct of the challenges he went through earlier this year.”
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