It’s Time for Hillis to Stop the Madness

By Will Burge

At a certain point enough is enough. If there is one thing that a young football team cannot afford, it is drama.

The Browns have avoided the drama of a major injury, a losing streak, or a quarterback controversy. Unfortunately, just four weeks into the season, drama of another kind is swirling inside the locker room and around the organization.

Just over a week before the season started the Browns extended the contract of tight end Evan Moore. Just before kickoff in week 1 they extended defensive tackle Ahtyba Rubin . After they defeated the Miami Dolphins in week 3, the team extended the contract of outside linebacker Chris Gocong.

People were getting paid and everyone was happy. Everyone except Peyton Hillis. Just days before Chris Gocong received his contract extension the Browns were playing host to the Miami Dolphins without their biggest offensive threat. Hillis missed the game with strep throat and that’s when the rumors started to fly.

Let’s start by debunking the rumor that Peyton Hillis was not sick. I was the one who saw him leave the locker room and head for the parking lot. He did not look good. I’m not a doctor, but that was a man who looked very ill.

The major problem only arose when, almost two weeks after the game Hillis missed, his agent Kennard McGuire told the AP that he was the one who instructed Hillis to sit out. While trying to deflect some of the heat Hillis was taking for missing a game McGuire dowsed the flames with gasoline.

People in “the know” see McGuire as one the few really nice guys in the NFL agent ranks. He, most likely, was really just giving some fatherly advice to his player and the situation spun out of control.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter also reported that there were some people in the Browns locker room who suspected Hillis was not as sick as he said. I have spoken to most of the players on and off the record and have not gotten that indication from anyone. I’m pretty sure, however, Schefter’s report was accurate. In a 53 man locker room there will always be one or two guys with dissenting points of view.

I do not expect Hillis to demand a trade. I do not expect the Browns to explore the option of trading Hillis either. A team that is trying to build and stockpile young talent cannot afford to trade away a 25 year old running back with a 1,200 yard season under his belt.

Our own Chris Fedor reported on Friday night that he is hearing Peyton Hillis and the Browns are still about $2 million apart per year on a contract extension.  To put that in perspective, that’s about the difference between Frank Gore ($4.9 million per year base salary) and Cedric Benson ($3 million per year base salary).

Another report from ProFootballTalk.com said that the Browns and Hillis are close on the salary but are still negotiating the guaranteed money and length.

Either way it is time for Hillis to put a stop to this madness.

All Peyton Hillis has to do is come out next Wednesday (the day he normally talks to the media) and say that this is not an issue. He needs to say that he will not address it again and that he would rather table contract discussions until after the season than have it be a distraction for the team.

He doesn’t actually have to table the discussions but he needs to tell the media that he is. Stop adding fuel to the fire and pushing the rest of the team into awkward questions. Stop using team drama as leverage for more money.

All he has to do to slow down this avalanche of drama is lie to the media. I am ok with it. I am sure everyone else will be too. It wouldn’t be the first time an athlete didn’t tell us the truth and it certainly won’t be the last. At least this time, however, it would be for the betterment of the team.

Follow Will on Twitter @WillBurge

 

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2 Comments

  1. great points and after HIllis talked to the media today its clear he didnt read this before doing so

  2. This is silly, why does he have to lie, why not just say “I’m not going to talk about it, I don’t want it to be a distraction for the team”.


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