Hall of Fame-bound offensive lineman Joe Thomas pulled no punches this afternoon when describing his time with former running back Peyton Hillis, stating that the big-biceped back created a toxic environment in the Browns’ locker room.
Per essentially every beat writer and radio/television reporter in Cleveland, Thomas stated the following:
“I think it was better for both sides [that Hillis left]. At that point the situation with him here was toxic, and he didn’t want to be here and players didn’t want him here. It was better for a fresh start at that point. [...] It was just the fact, he decided his contract was more important than coming out and playing and helping his team win, and it left us without a running back and then we had a few injuries that hurt us further, with Montario [Hardesty] being down and Brandon Jackson, losing him in training camp. He went about trying to get a contract a certain way, and it ended up hurting the other 52 guys in the locker room. That was his decision.”
Mary Kay Cabot of The Plain Dealerhas a fairly lengthy transcript of what Thomas had to say in addition to the venom spewed above. There were multiple rumors that surrounded Hillis falling out of favor with the Browns, going as far as stating that the team had to have an intervention of sorts on a flight back from a game. While the opinions surrounding Hillis are not surprisng, these words coming from Thomas will raise some eyebrows as the left tackle is typically very reserved.
Hills was acquired in a deal that sent then quarterback Brady Quinn to Denver. After rushing for over 1,000 yards in 2011, Hillis was a monumental disappointment in 2012, leading to his departure to Kansas City this past summer, uniting both players.