Playing for the Cleveland Browns, Hillis finished the season with over 1,600 total yards and 13 touchdowns. His magical season was capped off by being named to the cover of the video game, Madden. The spotlight was shining on a player who was overlooked his entire career. 2010 was a dream come true for Hillis, but 2011 was a nightmare. Injuries, strep throat, pressure and a contract dispute all led to Hillis crashing back down to earth and missing out on his big offseason payday that he coveted so much.
Now, Hillis is in Kansas City playing on a one-year contract with the same offensive coordinator, Brian Daboll, that fed him the rock repeatedly in 2010. Hillis has to share the backfield with the more talented Jamaal Charles, but after such a terrible 2011, Hillis just wanted a fresh start. He has it and now it will be up to him to make the most of it. If he does, what he has always coveted could be waiting for him at the end of the year. Peyton Hillis joined Fox Sports Radio Daybreakto talk about the Chiefs this season, how it feels to be reunited with Brian Daboll in Kansas City, what went wrong last year in Cleveland and what he thinks about the replacement officials.
On the Chiefs this season:
“With Matt (Cassel), he has made extraordinary leaps since he has been in this offense. He was in this offense when he was in New England and it kind of just carried over. He’s looked very poised the last few games and looks like he can really do some damage when he gets the ball back there and he has time to throw. With Jamaal, he’s coming off his ACL tear and he’s looking great. He’s starting to look like he’s 100 percent again and I just like to sit back and watch that guy run because he’s unbelievable and he has unbelievable ball skills, he knows how to get things done. As far as the team goes this is by far the most talented team that I have been on. We just have to put a few things together and start clicking on a lot of cylinders. If we do that I think we can win some ball games.”
On being reunited with Brian Daboll:
“It’s been great. Coach Crennel is a great man, I’ve heard good stories about him even before I came to Kansas City. He was in Cleveland before I got there and he’s such a player’s coach, he knows how to get things done and how to take care of his players. It’s just a blessing in disguise to be reunited with Brian Daboll. He’s been such a blessing to me in the past and hopefully in the future we can continue the same success.”
What went wrong last year in Cleveland:
“A little combination of everything. I had the injury bug and kept on re-tweaking my hamstring, which was frustrating and then we were losing and got sick there. It was a combination of a lot of things. I’m just glad to be here in Kansas City now and start a new campaign somewhere else. Very excited for the opportunity that I have here.”
What he makes of the whole Bobby Petrino thing at his alma mater, Arkansas:
“It’s unfortunate for the team and for the University. Coach Petrino was a great coach and he did great things for the University and for the team. It seems like they still have the same talent there, new coach with the same philosophy and still expect them to win a lot of ball games this year.”
His thoughts on the replacement refs:
“I’ve seen them make mistakes and it kind of worries me a little bit. All you have to do is hope and pray that they make the right decisions and can get things accomplished. Have a couple of weeks to get it right so we will see what happens.”