Back in 2010, Peyton Hillis was the toast of Cleveland, as not only a 1,000-yard back for the Browns, but also making the cover of "Madden '12" in the process - through a fan vote no less.
But fast forward three years later, and Hillis has endured a chaotic soap opera of a season in 2011 with the Browns, bounced to the Kansas City Chiefs last year and now finds himself hoping for one last chance to resurrect his NFL career with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
In recalling his tumultuous end in Cleveland where the Browns broke off contract talks following an injury-plagued and downright weird year in 2011 following the lockout, Hillis tells the Tampa Bay Times, "A lot of it was just injury," Hillis says now. "The hamstring had me for four weeks, and you try to get pushed onto the field, and I strained it again. People think you're trying to sit out on purpose. That's the nature of the game. I know how it looked. Some people fault me for that. There are things I wish I could change about my approach. I wished I hadn't gotten angry or bitter. But you can't go back now. I wasn't really angry. Just bitter, and a little naive."
Now, Hillis says he has learned and is trying to claim a role backing up Doug Martin with the Buccaneers.
"When you're younger, you look ahead like everything is going to be roses, and it isn't like that," Hillis says. "I'm happy enough to look back and learn from my mistakes. It'll make me a better person in the future."
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Terry McCormick covers the Titans for TitanInsider.com