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Browns RB Hillis calls report he thought of retiring 'ridiculous'

Cleveland Browns running back Peyton Hillis contested a report that he considered retiring and joining the CIA, calling the idea "ridiculous" in an interview with The Plain Dealer that was published Friday.

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ESPN had reported earlier this week that Hillis, who is set to become a free agent, thought about quitting and working for the CIA, citing team sources. Hillis did not mince words when dismissing the story in his interview with The Plain Dealer.

"That's ridiculous," Hillis said, regarding the idea that he might retire. "I never one time mentioned anything to any coach about retirement or joining the CIA or anything like that. That's pretty much ridiculous and 100 percent false. I don't know what's going on or who came up with a story like that, but they should've come up with a better one to make it sound more legit."

Hillis said the report, which had him considering a career with the CIA, "makes me sound insane. Why would you give up football to go to the CIA? It's ridiculous and it hurts what people think about you. And I think it's very unfair."

Browns coach Pat Shurmur had also dismissed the story, telling The Plain Dealer that Hillis never mentioned anything to him about retiring or the CIA.

On Friday, Hillis suggested that someone was trying to sully his reputation.

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"Someone is trying to downplay my name," Hillis said, adding that "I pretty much keep my mouth quiet and go about my business."

NFL Network insider Jason La Canfora reported Friday that the Browns will apply the franchise tag to kicker Phil Dawson, meaning that if Hillis is to return, he must sign a contract with the team.

Hillis told The Plain Dealer that he parted ways with agent Kennard McGuire because "things weren't getting done between him and the Browns, and a couple of days ago we decided to let him go."

The running back expressed a desire to stay with Cleveland, adding that he would consider a hometown discount. However, based on the team's decision to apply the tag to Dawson, Hillis thinks the Browns "want me to test the free-agent market and see what I can do out there."

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