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Browns' Wallace: Players see 'a change' in Hillis this season

  • By Marc Sessler
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Barring a significant turnaround, the Cleveland Browns are prepared to let running back Peyton Hillis walk after this season, The Plain Dealer reported Saturday, citing league sources.

"It's one thing after another, and what's been out there isn't even the half of it," one source told the newspaper.

"Guys are growing tired of the distractions and always wondering what's next," one Browns player told The Associated Press.

Backup quarterback Seneca Wallace confirmed a report that veteran Browns players belonging to the team's "leadership group" encircled Hillis for an intervention-style meeting this week to encourage him to remain focused on football.

"I think everybody's noticed a little bit of a change in him, but he could have some family issues or something," Wallace told The Plain Dealer. "Maybe his priorities have changed. We have a whole new staff, so a lot of things have changed. Maybe some of it's overblown."

One player who attended the Hillis meeting told The Associated Press it was a "very positive conversation."

Still, some players were piqued to see Hillis leave Cleveland to get married in Arkansas last Tuesday instead of getting treatment on the injured hamstring that he tweaked again Friday. The Browns officially downgraded Hillis on Saturday, ruling him out for Sunday's game against the Texans.

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"Of course we're going to be a little upset if Peyton's not in there getting his treatment," said Wallace. "We're a team, and we rely on each other. But if he felt he wanted to go get married that day, that's his business. You never really know what a person is going through. You don't know what type of influences a person might have. I don't know the stuff that Peyton has going on in his life."

Hillis erupted onto the scene last season by carrying the Browns' offense with 1,177 rushing yards and 11 touchdowns. He's appeared in only four games this year, battling an assortment of injuries and rushing for just 211 yards. The question now is when -- or if -- he'll be seen again in Cleveland's backfield.

It highlights yet another long, painful season for a city that -- if you're under the age of 25 -- has almost no memory of this team's once proud achievements.


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