Tyreek Hill's ascent to his current status, arguably the most electric player on the AFC representative in Super Bowl 54, has been a speedy but bumpy rise.
And the Chiefs can't say they were caught off guard by the issue that jeopardized the wide receiver's availability months before this championship season began. In fact, the franchise only deepened its investment in Hill with a three-year, $54 million extension in October, putting him among the league's highest-paid receivers.
Thanks in part to Hill's 883 yards from scrimmage in a year that was cut short by an early-season injury, Kansas City enters the Super Bowl against San Francisco with one of the league's most explosive offensive units. That production was foreseen, which is why the Chiefs ignored the red flags around a player who wasn't expected to be drafted in 2016 and instead picked him in the fifth round.
Below is an overview of the domestic violence case Hill faced in college that led to most teams' concerns in the NFL Draft, plus an explanation of the child abuse investigation saga in 2019 that Hill escaped without punishment.
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Tyreek Hill domestic assault in college
After a couple seasons at Garden City Community College, Hill in 2014 chose to play Division-I football at Oklahoma State. But he would only play one season for the Cowboys thanks to his arrest on domestic violence charges.
Crystal Espinal, Hill's girlfriend who was eight weeks pregnant with his child, told police an argument late on the night of Dec. 12, 2014, at Hill's Stillwater home escalated to physical violence. Espinal said she was choked by Hill, who also punched her in the stomach and the face. Still in pain in her stomach, she said she was concerned about the baby.
Hill spent the night in jail and on the next day was charged with felony domestic assault and battery by strangulation. That day, Oklahoma State announced it had dismissed Hill from the football and track programs. "Oklahoma State University does not tolerate domestic abuse or violence," the school said in a statement.
Hill initially pled not guilty. In August, represented by a new defense attorney after reportedly failing "to meet monetary