Peyton Hillis has been dubbed as “The Great White Hope” to many football fans across the country as his legend continues to grow in Cleveland. In what could be considered former Denver Broncos coach, Josh McDaniels, worst personnel move that spelled the end of his time in Denver, he dealt the former seventh round backup running back/fullback to the Cleveland Browns for quarterback, Brady Quinn. The Browns were also able to finagle a 6th round pick in the 2011 draft and a conditional pick in the 2012 draft in the exchange.
All Hillis did in the 2010-11 campaign to prove his former team wrong was amass 1,177 yards rushing on 270 attempts while hitting pay dirt 11 times on the ground and twice more via the air . At the young age of 24, Hillis has emerged as a leader for the Cleveland Browns football team with his grind-it-out mentality, hard-nosed play and consistent performance. It has become a growing story among fans and media that Hillis is the player no expected to succeed due more to his race than his ability. I personally could care less about his race and more about his playing ability. It is truly encouraging to see the Cleveland Browns trade for a hard-working player who should emerge as a leader for years to come.
Peyton Hillis joined the Dan Patrick Show to discuss what made him expendable in Denver, was he angry at the Denver Broncos for trading him, does he understand the novelty of being a white running back in the NFL, is being a white running back a novel story for him, what was the worst trash talk he faced this season and what were the nicknames that opposing players called him as a white running back.
What happened that made you in expendable in Denver? Who made that decision?
“To tell you the truth I have no idea. I wouldn’t know and when I left Denver I start new and fresh. I really didn’t care to know. I don’t know how all that went down. I think there was a lot of turmoil there anyway. I really didn’t try to get into it.”
Were you angry at the Denver Broncos at all?
“You know at first I was, but then you know I tried to create a new start in Cleveland. You know I kept praying that the good lord would send me to a place I would enjoy and people would want to use me and like me for the talents that I had. It looks like I got that there in Cleveland.”
Do you understand the whole novelty of being a white running back in the NFL?
“No sir I don’t. I try not be covenant to it. You know I just like to go out there and play my hardest because I know a lot of people don’t have a lot faith in me and even if you have a good year or a bad year there still going to criticize you and say you’re not good enough. It just gives me the motivation to go out there and do better.”
If you look at history there are few white running backs who rush for 1,000 yards. It’s a novel story:
“Yes sir. Well you know since the season is over I haven’t heard too much about it, but you know during the season people would come to me and tell me how exciting it was to see that. It made me happy to know that first and foremost the good lord put me in the position to do it. Secondly, that I could give people hope. Just having that and hearing peoples mind and what they really think is huge to me.”
You face a lot of grief and trashing talking in the NFL. What do the players say to you on teams like the New York Jets? Pittsburgh Steelers?
“Yes every team did. You know they’ll say “You white boy you ain’t gonna run on us today. This is ridiculous why are you giving offensive lineman the ball?” You know all kinds of stuff like that you hear on the field, but I use that to my advantage. I kind of soaked it in, ate it up a little bit because I enjoyed it.”
The best nickname for you that I heard was “The Avalanche:
“You know I heard a lot of different nicknames. I heard that one. You know I heard “White Rhino.” I heard, crap, umm… “Chuck Norris,” ah heck, I’ve heard it all. I kind of look down on that one just because you look at him as a overachiever. I didn’t enjoy that one too much. I really haven’t looked into. Whatever people want to think of me as I’ll just let of them think it as that way. You know I just never got into nicknames much.”