Cleveland Browns running back Peyton Hillis has missed the last five games with a hamstring injury and will be missing his sixth game in a row this Sunday as the team takes on the Cincinnati Bengals. Given the drama that has surrounded Hillis’ season, it doesn’t come as a surprise that he can add a long-term injury to the ever-growing list of reasons to put 2011 as far out of his mind as possible.
Nevertheless, Browns head coach Pat Shurmur is optimistic that Hillis will return this season, having this to say about the beleaguered running back:
"“Based on what [Hillis] is rehabbing, his hamstring, I’d anticipate that he’ll be back soon,” said Shurmur. “I can’t tell you yet exactly, that’s the thing. Each guy’s different.”"
The Browns still have five games to go after Sunday’s match-up, so it’s not impossible for Hillis to make a return at some point this season. It would certainly be in his best interest to do so, as the current opinion of him among Browns fans (and possibly the organization) isn’t exactly beaming.
If Hillis wants any chance at a big contract with any team in the league, he’s going to have to show something in however many games he manages to play throughout the rest of this season. There is no doubt that teams know his talent and what he can do on the field, but currently, his biggest problem is finding a way to actually stay on it. At this point, Hillis can pretty much say goodbye to the obscene amount of guaranteed money that was speculated as a possibility for him.
That being said, the Browns could certainly use him in this important stretch run. This team won’t be making the playoffs, but it can be a major spoiler in the AFC North, which is the next best thing.
So, does Peyton Hillis play again this season? The team is confident he can make a return, but even if does, it won’t be for at least a few more weeks, thus making the running back’s future with the Browns as clear as mud baking in the hot Arkansas sun (or something like that).