This offseason when Mike Holmgren and Tom Heckert came to Cleveland, one of the first things that they tried to do was clean up the quarterback position. The position has been a revolving door since the team came back in 1999 and Derek Anderson and Brady Quinn just were not getting it done on the field. While doing that, they stumbled upon one of the best running backs in the NFL that nobody knew about. The Browns dealt Brady Quinn to Denver for a future draft pick and Peyton Hillis. Little did they know they were about to get the focal point of their offense for a first round bust.
That’s exactly what Peyton Hillis has been in Cleveland. He has become a fan favorite for his tough running style, his post-touchdown celebrations, his giant biceps, and his attitude. He also happens to be one of the best running backs in the NFL this season, and the Browns’ only consistent offensive threat. Through 11 games, Hillis has 905 yards and 11 touchdowns on the ground. Those 11 TDs are matched by only Leroy Kelly and Jim Brown in the rich annals of Cleveland Browns history. That’s pretty elite company for a guy that had to share a college backfield with Darren McFadden and Felix Jones, and for a guy that wasn’t good enough to play for Josh McDaniels’ Broncos.
Peyton Hillis joined ESPN 850 WKNR in Cleveland to talk about being in the same category as Leroy Kelly and Jim Browns with 11 rushing touchdowns, whether or not he is surprised by his success this season, how he feels this season given that he is getting so many carries this season, and how he feels about the city being so supportive of him.
On being compared with guys like Leroy Kelly and Jim Brown in Cleveland:
“I don’t want anything of it to tell you the truth.”
On whether or not he is surprised by his success this year:
“No, I’m not. I’ve always known that I’ve had the talent. I’ve always felt like I’ve just been needed to be given the opportunity to do so and with the coaching staff I have here, they’ve given me the opportunity.”
On whether or not he is prepared for when teams start trying to take him out of the game:
“We do. We do every week in practice. We work on every part of the game, not just running the ball. We always have something up our sleeves. We’ve got a good bunch of receivers and good quarterbacks so we can get it done in all schemes on the field.”
On his health:
“I’m feeling good. I feel a lot better now than I did a few weeks ago. I think my body is holding up pretty well.”
On whether or not the offense would like to know what’s going on with the quarterbacks:
“I don’t think it really makes a difference. I think all three quarterbacks have done a great job. No matter which one is in there, they’re going to do their best and we all put our faith in them. It’s all about timing I guess and with each quarterback I guess the timing is a little different but nothing that our guys haven’t seen before.”
On whether or not he is getting adjusted to the city:
“Most definitely. I love the city of Cleveland. I actually just got back from a deer hunt right now. I think it’s one of those things that the Lord has blessed me enough to be here where I can start enjoying myself outside and not just football. The fans are great, I really enjoy them, and I hope it’s a long-term relationship.”