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Miami Dolphins wide receiver Tyreek Hill has one of the simplest yet catchiest nicknames in the NFL. We’re not talking about nicknames like “Ty” or “‘Reek,” which are just the Super Bowl LIV champion’s name shortened. Hill’s nickname and his Twitter handle are “Cheetah.”

Hill is among the NFL’s fastest players, so that element of his nickname is obvious. But where exactly did “Cheetah” originate?

Tyreek Hill is one of the NFL’s top receivers

A fifth-round pick from West Alabama, an FCS program, Tyreek Hill has dominated since he entered the league in 2016.

In his six seasons with the Kansas City Chiefs (2016-21), the controversial NFL player averaged 1,105 receiving yards and 9.3 receiving touchdowns per season. Hill set franchise records of 1,479 receiving yards in a season in 2018 and 111 receptions in a season in 2021.

After being traded to the Miami Dolphins in 2022, Hill received a four-year, $120 million contract extension. With $72.2 million guaranteed, he became the highest-paid wide receiver in the league.

Hill immediately proved his worth, finishing his first season in Miami with career-high receptions (119) and receiving yards (1,710), setting franchise records for most receptions and most receiving yards in a season with both accolades. The Dolphins celebrated making the playoffs for the first time since 2016.

Where did Tyreek Hill’s ‘Cheetah’ nickname come from?

Tyreek Hill is fast. Cheetahs are known for their speed, too. Naturally, it makes sense that Hill would be nicknamed after cheetahs. But where exactly did the nickname come from, and who gave it to him?

Hill has always called himself “Cheetah” and referred to his speed as, fittingly, “Cheetah speed.” It wasn’t until 2018, though, that the nickname really took off.

The outspoken athlete frequently mentioned “Cheetah speed” in interviews. In September 2018, though, Hill learned then-49ers running back Matt Breida also went by “Cheetah.” According to the Kansas City Star, Hill dismissed Breida’s use of the nickname a few days before the Chiefs, his team at the time, welcomed the 49ers to Arrowhead Stadium.

“Man, I’ve only gotta say one thing: Who got the social media name and all of that? There’s only one cheetah in the league, just know that. You can’t be a cheetah and run a 4.48, or whatever you run.”

Breida ran a 4.38 40-yard time at his pro day in 2017. The 49ers limited Hill to two catches for 51 yards in a 38-27 Chiefs win on Sept. 23, 2018. Breida led the 49ers with 90 yards on 10 carries. He also caught three passes for 27 yards.

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