Browns RB Peyton Hillis tried to clear some things up in an interview with the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Hillis mentioned that he hasn’t considered retirement, which had been previously reported, and maintained that he wants to be back with the Browns next season. “hometown discount.”
“I’ve always loved this city, and I still do love it, and I still want to play for the Cleveland Browns,” Hillis said. “I’m not sure who wants me there and who doesn’t want me there. It’s out of my hands at this point. They’ve said they might want to re-sign me. If I was this horrible person, if I wasn’t tough and if I was that big of a mental case, why would they still want to sign me?”
“Yeah, of course,” said Hillis after being asked about offering a “hometown discount.” “It just depends on what they want to do. When free agency gets here, I’d love to hear them out.”
Hillis mentioned that he turned down the Browns offer last season because it was four- to five-year deal worth $25-$26 million and heavily backloaded with very little in up-front guarantees.
If this is true, it wouldn’t come as much of a surprise. Hillis had just put together a ridiculous season which saw him stay healthy for an entire season for the first time in his NFL career. The Browns would have been crazy to commit that kind of money and include a heavily front-loaded deal. Hillis dealt with even more injuries last season but did manage to play well in the team’s final stretch of the season.
I could see the Browns check in on him during the offseason but it seems more likely that he’ll be playing elsewhere in 2012.