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Peyton Hillis released by Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The fall has been fast and hard for running back Peyton Hillis.

The man once elected to adorn the cover of Madden NFL 12 was released by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Saturday, the team confirmed.

The news was first reported by SportsTalkFlorida.com.

A former seventh-round pick with the Denver Broncos, Hillis had his breakout season with the Cleveland Browns in 2010. He rushed for 1,177 yards and 11 touchdowns. His bruising style made him a fan favorite, which ultimately led to him being selected for the Madden cover.

It all fell apart for Hillis from there (insert Madden Curse joke here). An ill-fated contract request and poor 2011, led the Browns to release Hillis. He spent 2012 with the Kansas City Chiefs, before signing with the Bucs this offseason.

Hillis did not play in the Buccaneers' first two games, so his release isn't a surprise. Brian Leonard and Mike James remain the backups to starting running back Doug Martin.

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