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In feud sparked by Tyreek Hill, Bengals defensive backs have Eli Apple’s back

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Peter King and Myles Simmons run down some of the biggest storylines from Week 3 in the NFL, including whether the Eagles or the Dolphins inspire more confidence after impressive 3-0 starts.

After Sunday’s win by the Dolphins over Buffalo, Miami receiver Tyreek Hill provided locker-room comments that qualified in some circles as performance art.

I can’t wait to go against Eli Apple, man,” Hill said after being informed by reporters that the next opponent was the Bengals. “I owe you, boy. I owe you. I’m here. The Cheetah is here. That’s it.”

On Monday, Apple sidestepped question from reporters. On Tuesday, several of Apple’s teammates spoke up for him.

"[If] somebody comes after Eli, he comes after all of us,” safety Jessie Bates said, via Ben Baby of ESPN.com. “We’re all up for the challenge.”

Hill “owes” Apple because -- God forbid -- Apple did his job. With the Chiefs leading the Bengals 21-10 late in the first half of the AFC Championship game, K.C. got greedy. Quarterback Patrick Mahomes threw the ball to Hill. Apple tackled Hill short of the goal line, as any defensive player would have done, if he could.

“It must have still been in his head a little bit, obviously, if he brought it up,” Bengals cornerback Mike Hilton said, via Baby. “We’re not with all the talking. We’re just going to go out there and handle our business on Thursday.”

Added Bates: “I don’t know if Eli got him tickets to the Super Bowl last year or not. I think that’s probably why he’s a little upset.”

Hill shouldn’t need the extra motivation to shine in prime time. He continues to be one of the fastest and most explosive players in the league. Apple and all of his teammates will have their hands full against Hill, Jaylen Waddle, and the rest of the Dolphins.