ST. JOSEPH, Mo. (WIBW) - For the first time since child abuse allegations were made against him and his former fiancée, Tyreek Hill spoke to the media at Chiefs training camp on Sunday.
Courtesy of KCTV5
"I can't wait for my new journey," Hill said. "I'm excited. I'm working every day to be a better father, a better person, a better citizen, a better teammate and a better son too, to my parents. I am evolving every day."
The NFL, like the Johnson County District Attorney's Office did in not charging the 25-year-old, cited a lack of evidence when looking into the allegations against Hill and deciding not to discipline him. The Chiefs suspended the wide receiver from all team activities, but let him return once the league cleared him.
"To all of the fans, (Chairman and CEO) Clark Hunt, (Head) Coach (Andy) Reid, (General Manager Brett) Veach, my teammates, my family, my teammates being my family, I just want to thank them for the support," Hill said. "I am very appreciative to all of those guys for being in my life. Especially my teammates, they stayed on me during the whole offseason. We would work out. They would stay steady showing me love, steady during everything. I am very appreciative of everybody in my life right now."
While Johnson County District Attorney Steve Howe elected to not charge Hill or Espinal, the Kansas Department for Children and Families is still investigating the case. Hill declined to go into details surrounding any of that, saying he wish he could, but can't.
Of course, the allegations against the Pro Bowl wideout only took on another layer when Kansas City CBS affiliate KCTV5 released portions of a recorded conversation between Hill and his former fiancée Crystal Epsinal. The full audio would be released months later, but it included portions where Hill cursed at Espinal and told her she needed to be terrified of him too after she said their three-year-old son was terrified of his father.
"I'm just here to man up to what I did on audio, my bad language," Hill said. "I am going to man up to that. I don't want anybody talking to my little sister, my daughter that I have now or my mom like that. That is very disrespectful.
"My mom got into me. She thumped me on the ear like, 'C'mon, grow up out of that.' Never again. Like I said, I am growing as a human being, as a person. Never again."
In that recording, Espinal also said Hill made their son open his arms while Hill punches the child in the chest. He addressed that as well, citing it as being playful.
"That would probably refer to me teaching my son how to box," Hill said. "We do have boxing gloves at our house. Our son is like Ironman. He loves Ironman, Aquaman. He's like, 'Daddy, c'mon, c'mon, c`mon,' all of the time. That's what it is."
He added he did not know the audio existed until it came out. He said all of this has taught him a simple lesson.
"I've learned to just appreciate those around me," Hill said. "I feel like I take that for granted sometimes. Being a professional athlete, I tend to not stay humble sometimes. I still love my kids and I still love my family, but sometimes I feel like I take all of those things for granted."
And more importantly, something his mom told him has kept him wanting to continue to pursue a path of growth.
"Think of a tree," Hill said. "A tree changes and a tree grows. Every day my mom would tell me, 'Tyreek, you need to grow. You need to add layers to yourself.' If a tree grows, it doesn't go back. I want to grow. I don't want to change, I'm trying to grow each and every day of my life."