Sometimes you don’t know whether to believe fun-loving Tyreek Hill, the Dolphins wide receiver who is as quick with a line as he is with a football.
Take the incident involving the pingpong table in the Dolphins locker room as an example.
The table vanished earlier this week. Again.
A few players said the table, which was actually the team’s second pingpong table of the year, disappeared for superstitious reasons, because the Dolphins (8-8) are on a five-game losing streak heading into Sunday’s regular-season finale against the New York Jets.
The Dolphins were 3-2 with the original table in the locker room, 5-1 with no table in the locker room, and 0-5 with the second version of the table in the locker room.
“I got a little superstitious about it,” center Connor Williams said. “I said we might need to get this out. It might be a little bad-luck token.”
Hill, who might lack facts but always holds your interest, gave an amusing reason why the pingpong table was missing. Again.
When asked, Hill smiled and began a short journey down a long and twisted road.
“Look, I know y’all are gonna blame that on me,” he began. “I know everybody’s gonna put it on me so I’m just gonna go ahead and take it. Somebody wanted it. It was a gift for somebody. So we kinda did a basketball shot, whoever makes the shot they get the ping pong table.”
Who won the table, Tyreek?
“Me,” he replied with a smile. “So now I’ve got two pingpong tables.”
Either of them have a Dolphins logo?
“Did that one have one?” Hill asked about the recently-removed table.
He was told no.
“Nah?” Hill repeated. “So, nah.”
This isn’t the first time the pingpong table has been removed.
And this isn’t the first time Hill, who likes to joke with media members, gave a humorously confusing account of what happened.
The pingpong table disappeared earlier this season, during the midst of that October three-game losing streak.
At that time, coach Mike McDaniel said team captains decided to remove it after back-to-back losses because it had become a distraction. Linebacker Elandon Roberts, a team captain, confirmed that account.
But Hill contradicted both, saying he had the table removed to put a Dolphins logo on it.
“I got a brand new pingpong table coming in for the guys,” Hill declared at the time. “I decided to get an all decked-out Miami Dolphins pingpong table for the guys. Because the pingpong table we had in here was just too basic. Feel like the guys, man, they really deserve something brand new. That’s what we’re going to roll with.”
The table was a locker-room fixture, a gathering place, an area where players had fun and talked trash.
Last week two offensive linemen were playing. One told the other he was going to put some English on the serve. He aced his opponent. The next serve he announced he’d put some Spanish on the ball. Another ace. The next serve he declared he’d put some French on it. And so on.
The table was a fun place. Players even had a tournament going.
Removing the table in October effectively ended the tournament. For weeks there was a bracket posted on the wall. The bracket has been gone for a long time.
“I don’t even know if somebody still has the bracket,” kicker Jason Sanders said, “or if it still exists.”
The way Sanders tells it, he was one of the top three pingpong players on the team.
“I was definitely going to make it to the semis or finals,” he said of the tournament. “There’s only two guys in this locker room that give a good game, and that’s Gink [linebacker Andrew Van Ginkel] and Raheem [running back Raheem Mostert].”
The table reappeared after the five-game winning streak, right before the team headed out west. It didn’t have a Dolphins logo, as Hill said it would.
The only thing that matters now is the Dolphins are ready for the biggest game of the year because the pingpong table is gone.
What does that mean exactly?
“I don’t think you should read into it any way or how,” Williams said. “You can make the narrative what you want, but I think it was there to get us all together and get us talking. I think we’ve got great camaraderie now and it’s time to lock in one one mission.”
In case you’re wondering, Williams has a sense of humor about the superstitious aspect of removing the pingpong table.
“Yeah, it’s pretty funny,” he said. “We’ll see on Sunday what the result is.”
And if necessary, we’ll get Tyreek Hill to give us an explanation.