Peyton Hillis will certainly be the talk of the Cleveland Browns this off-season. He heads into the final year of his contract after having proven himself to be quite the valuable commodity on the football field. The Browns and their fans could do far worse than having Peyton Hillis out there representing the team nationally. We learned that earlier this year when Hillis spoke with national radio host Jim Rome. O.K. So, maybe he did take his own spitter to a Browns post-game press conference. Even that’s alright, I guess.
Hillis was on the Dan Patrick show (audio) recently and again represented Cleveland well. It was no easy task as he was continually asked about being a successful white running back. Peyton Hillis says he still doesn’t get the novelty of his whiteness as a topic of conversation.
Hillis said, “I try not be covenant to it.” before deflecting to more general talk like an NFL veteran. ”You know I just like to go out there and play my hardest because I know a lot of people don’t have a lot faith in me and even if you have a good year or a bad year they’re still going to criticize you and say you’re not good enough.”
But Patrick pressed on, noting how few white running backs have ever rushed for 1,000 yards in a season. Hillis continued to push past the race issue as best he could saying, ”Well you know since the season is over I haven’t heard too much about it, but you know during the season people would come to me and tell me how exciting it was to see that. It made me happy to know that first and foremost the good lord put me in the position to do it. Secondly, that I could give people hope.”
Apparently though, despite my suspicions that the NFL was full of courteous gentlemen, race does come up in some of the trash talking on the field. ”You know they’ll say ‘You white boy you ain’t gonna run on us today. This is ridiculous why are you giving offensive lineman the ball?’ You know all kinds of stuff like that you hear on the field, but I use that to my advantage. I kind of soaked it in, ate it up a little bit because I enjoyed it.”
Peyton Hillis finished with another discussion of the many nicknames that people have come up with for him. In the end though, Hillis still claims not to care much for nicknames. Let’s just hope that Browns fans want to keep thinking up positive nicknames for Hillis next year and on into the future.