October 11, 2011
Back in Week 3, Peyton Hillis(notes) sat out the Browns' game against the Dolphins with strep throat. He absorbed a bit of criticism for his decision, with people questioning his toughness and/or wondering if the decision to sit wasn't based more on the fact that he wants a new contract.
Monday's admission from Hillis that he sat out because his agent wanted him to isn't going to do his image any favors. From Mary Kay Cabot at The Plain Dealer:
"By the way I was feeling, I just needed somebody else's opinion," said Hillis. "If [agent Kenneard Maguire] would have said, 'Peyton, you probably can do your thing,' I'd have listened to that. But he is my agent and he does help me out and I think we made the right choice, because I was definitely not healthy enough to play."
Hillis stressed that "it was ultimately my choice in the end. We both knew how sick I was and how bad it could be for the team and for myself if I had tried to play so it wasn't just my agent's decision. It was mine also."
Hillis still frames it as an entirely health-based decision, but upon hearing the word "agent," the mind immediately shifts towards the health of Hillis' bank account.
It's not unreasonable to assume that an agent would advise his player based on his best financial interests, and not the best interests of his employer. That's not something that's wrong or bad; that's what agents do. They serve a valuable purpose in making sure that players get a fair shake from their owners, financially. That's why Peyton Hillis hired an agent.
But if he really wasn't sure if he should play, there are people out there who can offer a relevant opinion on the matter. They're called doctors. Doctors look out for your health. Agents look out for your bank account. If Hillis and his agent have such a great relationship that Hillis values the guy's medical opinion, too, that's great, but you couldn't blame fans, media or even teammates if they're rubbed the wrong way by Hillis letting his agent advise him to sit out. The Browns winning that football game was probably not the biggest motivating factor for the agent.
Hillis has played in the Browns' other three games, and hasn't been terribly effective. He's averaging 3.6 yards per carry, and has failed to find the end zone in two of his three games. He still does not have a new contract.
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