As a rookie in Kansas City, Tyreek Hill handled all the punt returns for the Chiefs, and he was outstanding: Hill led the NFL in punt return yards, average and touchdowns that year. But the Chiefs quickly decided Hill was too valuable on offense to risk getting him injured on special teams, and took him off return duty.
Now the Dolphins are facing the question of whether Hill should play on special teams, and at the moment they appear undecided.
Dolphins General Manager Chris Grier said Hill’s first request upon becoming a Dolphin was to get to return punts again.
“Tyreek, the first thing he said was I want to make sure I’m back there, getting a couple of returns every game,” Grier said, via the Palm Beach Post.
Last year the Dolphins’ primary punt returner was safety Jevon Holland, and they also had wide receiver Jaylen Waddle handle some returns. Grier said the Dolphins have plenty of players who can do it.
“We’re fortunate with him, Holland, Waddle,” Grier said. “We have guys that can do it. They’re all big contributors on their side of the ball as well. And we also have a couple other guys that can return. So we’re not really worried about the return game.”
But what could worry the Chiefs is injuries in the return game. NFL chief medical officer Dr. Allen Sills said the league has identified punt returning as one of the most dangerous positions on the field. Punt returners have far more injuries per play than wide receivers do. The Dolphins may decide that they can’t risk Hill suffering a serious injury on punt returns, and deny his request.