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Report: Browns could let Hillis walk

The Sports Xchange

The Cleveland Browns could let running back Peyton Hillis walk as a free agent after the season, a year removed from his breakout season, according to a report in the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

Hillis was ruled out on the Cleveland Browns' injury report Saturday, due to the hamstring injury he aggravated in practice Friday. But Hillis has also aggravated the Browns enough for various reasons that the team is no longer as enamored by the talent that led him to rush for 1,177 yards and 11 touchdowns last year.

"It's one thing after another, and what's been out there isn't even the half of it," an NFL source told the paper.

An MRI revealed a significant strain to Hillis' hamstring after he grabbed the back of his left leg and limped off the field after a play in practice Friday. He threw his helmet to the ground in frustration. He's expected to miss at least a couple of games, after missing the past two.

Chris Ogbonnaya is expected to make his first NFL start against his former team, the Houston Texans, in his native Houston.

While some teammates questioned Hillis for sitting out a game earlier this year, a source told the Plain Dealer this "injury is legit."

The report detailed Hillis' teammates questioning him for choosing to get married over getting treatment and sitting out a game with strep throat.

The paper reported quarterback Seneca Wallace confirming a Yahoo! Sports report that Hillis' teammates were also annoyed with him for throwing passes from the 50-yard-line to the field-goal crossbar with reserve quarterback Thad Lewis in pre-game warmups in San Francisco. Hillis had been ruled out of the game with the hamstring injury.

The players had a meeting with Hillis to discuss the issues, according to the Yahoo! report.

"Yes, it did get on some peoples' nerves that he was throwing balls when he was injured," Wallace told the Plain Dealer. "But at the end of the day, it's his last name on the back of his jersey, and he has to decide how he wants to represent himself."

Players also were " a little upset" by Hillis' decision to go to Arkansas to get married last week instead of coming in for treatment, Wallace told the paper, confirming another report.

"We're a team and we rely on each other," Wallace said. "But if he felt he wanted to go get married that day, that's his business. You never really know what a person is going through.

"??? I think everybody's noticed a little bit of a change in him, but he could have some family issues or something. Maybe his priorities have changed. We have a whole new staff, so a lot of things have changed. Maybe some of it's overblown."

Hillis also missed a scheduled commitment to appear at the Boys and Girls Club of Cleveland's Halloween party Monday, and issued an apology Wednesday. He said there was a miscommunication with his business manager and brother, Kyle Hillis.

Hillis had a breakdown in contract extension negotiations entering the season. In Week 3, his agent advised him not to play due to strep throat and a league source told the Plain Dealer that decision rankled players.

Copyright (C) 2011 The Sports Xchange. All Rights Reserved.


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