Cleveland Browns head coach Pat Shurmur made sure everyone knew on Monday that running back Peyton Hillis would not be traded this week. The speculation was running rampant again, especially after yet another disappointing loss that brings nothing but questions and fans left scratching their heads.
Hillis was out for most of the second half against the Oakland Raiders on Sunday with a hamstring injury, though he managed to come back in the fourth quarter for two plays. It was obvious that Hillis wanted to get back into the game, leading some to wonder just how tweaked his hamstring really was.
Apparently, it’s a serious enough injury that the Browns decided to sign a little insurance at running back, acquiring Chris Ogbonnaya from the Houston Texans’ practice squad.
Ogbonnaya played in two games for the Texans this season, carrying the ball three carries for six yards. He also spent the 2010 season on the Texans’ practice squad, and was drafted in the seventh round by the St. Louis Rams in 2009 while Shurmur was still there as the offensive coordinator.
There’s no real evidence that Hillis has fallen out of favor with Shurmur, and it would be a disastrously poor decision for the Browns to part ways with Hillis right now. The man does deserve a new contract, regardless of having only one stellar season. The Browns aren’t exactly in a situation where they can pass on a running back with the talent that Hillis possesses, so signing him to a new, reasonable deal is exactly what they should do.
It’s unfortunate that Hillis is dealing with all of these distractions and ailments that are keeping him out of games, but one thing is for sure: Montario Hardesty does not have the pass-catching or blocking skills that Hillis has.