The drama surrounding Peyton Hillis has ended, at least for the day.
During Monday’s press conference Pat Shurmur declared that his star running back, Peyton Hillis, was not on the trading block. That didn’t stop the media from speculating, however.
Various media outlets insisted that Shurmur’s comments were just a smoke-screen, that Hillis was in fact on the trading block. They offered-up tons of rumors from their “sources close to the situation”, and even went as far as to say that the Browns had a potential deal in place with the Dallas Cowboys, who are suddenly thin at the tailback position with Felix Jones’ most recent injury. The deal would reportedly send Hillis to the Cowboys in exchange for a 2012 second-round pick, a receiver, and a replacement back who was rumored to be Tashard Choice.
After 4:00 PM, we knew the reports were bogus.
I guess we should’ve known better than to pretend the media knew what they were talking about, and we should’ve believed Coach Shurmur when he told us Hillis wouldn’t be traded. With the season-long Hillis drama, I guess we just couldn’t help ourselves.
In all reality, I don’t think the fans really wanted to see Hillis traded away from Cleveland anyway. There’s no denying that Hillis is a terrific back, and it’s a shame that all this has come about for him this season. Hillis was supposed to be the positive on the Browns offense this season, a year after he had a career year for the Browns after being traded to Cleveland in a deal that sent Brady Quinn to Denver. However, this season has been a disaster for Hillis. From his contract negotiations, to “Strep-Gate”, behind every door seems to be a headache for Hillis.
There were a number of potential reasons for Hillis being traded. It could’ve been his contract situation, or it could’ve been the way he’s handled it; missing games with the advice from your agent isn’t going to earn you any points with the coaching staff or fan base. The biggest reason Hillis could have been traded, would’ve been the belief that Hillis doesn’t fit Coach Shurmur’s style of offense. When Shurmur came to Cleveland, he brought with him a version of the west-coast offense.
In Shurmur’s version of the WCO, the back needs to be well balanced in both the passing game, and running game. Because of Hillis’ physical style of play, it was widely speculated that Hillis didn’t fit in the Browns offense, despite being the sixth leading receiver at the tailback position since 2010.
No one would’ve been surprised if Hillis was traded for any of those reasons, but he wasn’t.
Well no one will really ever know. Of course Coach Shurmur is going to say that he wasn’t traded because the team views him as a valuable asset to their offense, though if Shurmur continues to mismanage Hillis’ playing time, it’ll be easy to raise the B.S. flag.
Or, maybe Hillis hamstring injury is more severe than we really know. Injured players are never traded, so maybe there was a plan in place to move him until he got hurt. There’s also a possibility that there just wasn’t any takers on Hillis, again, because of his style of play.
No one wants to trade for a player that 1) is only going to be affective for another couple season, and 2) demands a ton of money based off of one year of solid production. If that’s the case, this severely limits Hillis’ hand in contract negotiations. The Browns front office will know Hillis’ worth in the eyes of the rest of the league, which, if there weren’t any takers, isn’t much.
I, for one, am glad Hillis remained in Cleveland. This is one less distraction Hillis and the rest of the organization has to deal with. Hopefully the team is able to put all this drama behind them and move forward in a potentially successful season if they can get their offense going. That will happen once Shurmur realizes that Hillis should be the focal point on offense, and utilizes him properly.
At any rate, I’m surprised the dreaded “Madden Curse” hasn’t been mentioned (until now).