It was easy to think Tyreek Hill made a mistake.

Back in 2021, he was the star of the best offense in the NFL with the Kansas City Chiefs, with the best offensive mind in coach Andy Reed and the best quarterback in Patrick Mahomes. It literally doesn’t get better than that combination — maybe in the history of the NFL.

For the sake of money, Hill worked his way off the team and onto the Miami Dolphins, a team in transition in 2022. Coach Mike McDaniel was brand new to his role. Quarterback Tua Tagovailoa‘s career was trending the wrong direction. The Dolphins offense was 25th in yardage in 2021 and 17th in passing yardage, and Tua had just thrown 16 touchdowns to 10 interceptions in 13 games.

Hill was leaving complete certainty and security for … almost complete unknown. It wasn’t what he’d planned going into that 2022 offseason.

“My agent [Drew Rosenhaus] was trying to bait K.C. into giving me a contract. The idea was never to leave K.C.,” Hill said during an appearance on “I Am Athlete” with Brandon Marshall.

Immediately after the 2021 season, Rosenhaus got on the phone with Chiefs general manager Brett Veach to ask for a new deal. Then Mahomes and Reid called Hill, and they all seemed like they were on the same page: a team-friendly deal. 

But Rosenhaus kept pushing for big guaranteed numbers, which Hill made clear was the priority. Kansas City’s final offer, per Hill, was close to $58 million guaranteed. And Hill trusted his agent, who forced the Chiefs to open up the doors for a trade.

A bidding war followed. It was Jets vs. Dolphins.

The Dolphins offered around $70 million guaranteed. The Jets opened with $68 million but quickly countered with $76 million. Hill wants to someday be an actor and is a huge fan of Adam Sandler, which helped the case for New York. Hill also always used to trade himself to the Dolphins in Madden.

But again, it came down to the bottom line: State income taxes made the Jets’ offer noncompetitive. Hill’s mother kept reminding him of that. So he picked the Dolphins and a deal that ultimately tallied in at $72.2 million guaranteed. (It’s a four-year, $120 million contract.)

“No regrets at all. I’m glad everything happened that way,” Hill said.

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On Sunday, Hill will play against the team that he thought he’d spend his career with for the first time. The 6-2 Dolphins face the 6-2 Chiefs in Germany in a fight for the No. 1 seed in the AFC.

It’s not like it’s a revenge game. It’s more like a nostalgia game — even though Hill admitted he’s “a little frustrated” the game isn’t at Arrowhead Stadium. And on Thursday, he admitted he will be talking a lot of trash … but in a brotherly way.

“A lot of people think we still have beef,” Hill said of his former teammates. “But I still love those guys. When they won the Super Bowl, I was turned up. … I was excited for my boys.”

Just as soon as Hill and the Dolphins beat the Patriots last Sunday, he was thinking about the Chiefs this Sunday.

“I’m ready, man,” Hill told reporters. “It’s just another game. I’m just excited to play against my old brothers. It’s just like if you’re in high school and you move to a different city, it’s still ball. At the end of the day, my job is to go out there and do what I’ve been doing all year, and that’s have fun, help lead this team, and create opportunities for whoever. I’m still going to be the same old Cheetah, baby.”

Hill added: “It’s going to be problems.”

That’s what Hill has been for defenses during his career — and perhaps even more so with the Dolphins than with the Chiefs. Even with Miami dealing with injuries to its quarterbacks in 2022, Hill finished the season with a career-high 1,710 receiving yards and seven touchdowns. So far this year, he already has eight touchdowns and 1,014 yards, becoming the first player in 52 years to eclipse the 1,000-yard mark in the first eight games of a season. 

The Dolphins have built their offense almost completely around him.

It’s fair to say that McDaniel has unlocked Hill in a way that Reid did not. Of course, Reid’s offense was systematically different, with Hill and tight end Travis Kelce as the centerpieces. For McDaniel, it has been more about Hill and receiver Jaylen Waddle.

But again, it’s really about Hill.

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McDaniel’s system is different in part because of how different Tagovailoa is to Mahomes. No one is Mahomes, the best QB on the planet. But Tagovailoa has a unique talent for timing throws with accuracy. McDaniel’s system accounts for Tua’s strengths and masks his weaknesses. You won’t see Tua scrambling out of the pocket. He won’t throw across his body like Mahomes. His deep throws, while accurate, don’t have Mahomes’ velocity. (Yes, Tagovailoa can throw deep. But let’s be real: It’s different with Mahomes.) 

With different quarterbacks, in different systems, Hill has continued to succeed.

The Dolphins offense has been incredible when Tua and Tyreek are healthy — well beyond anything the team could have imagined when Hill first arrived in March 2022.

“I would say I didn’t know what to expect,” Tagovailoa said on Wednesday when asked to remember back to the team adding Hill. “I think as we all look at Tyreek’s film, we know one thing is for sure: He might be the fastest man alive as far as stepping foot on a football field and playing in pads. Outside of that, I think what really surprised me was who he was as a leader, his work ethic, and then how he takes ownership of what is asked of him. Whether it’s in the run game, in the pass game, or things like that. 

“Then it’s almost like a trickle-down effect for a lot of the guys in his room. They respect him as a player, as a person, to take advice from him and follow his lead.”

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Hill has certainly changed the trajectory of the Dolphins’ future. And it’s clear the receiver, who previously intended to retire after this season but has since walked back that statement, doesn’t plan on playing anywhere else.

“If I’m not being brought back to Miami with this team, it may be [a wrap]. It may be over with. We’ll see,” Hill said on “I Am Athlete.”

Where have we heard that before?

Whatever comes of Hill’s future, his present is with the Dolphins. And it looks extremely bright. If the Dolphins beat the Chiefs in Week 9, Miami will have the upper hand in a race to get the only playoff bye in the AFC. And that’s a powerful position for a speedy offense that will only get faster with a full week of rest during the playoffs.

Prior to joining FOX Sports as the AFC East reporter, Henry McKenna spent seven years covering the Patriots for USA TODAY Sports Media Group and Boston Globe Media. Follow him on Twitter at @henrycmckenna.

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