Thursday, October 6, 2011

Browns sat Hillis on agents advice

Thursday, October 6, 2011
By Kris Knox  
National Football Authority
NFL Writer

When it was announced that Cleveland Browns running backPeyton Hillis would not play in the Week 3 matchup against the Miami Dolphins due to a case of strep throat, nearly everyone asked the same question.

How could one of the game's toughest and most physical players be sidelined by a sore throat?

Some even questioned if Hillis was really too sick to play at all, or if his lack of a long-term contract led to the decision.

However, it appears that Hillis did not suit up at the advice of his agent, Kennard McGuire. McGuire has since told the Associated Press that Hillis was too sick to play and playing might have jeopardized his health, his season and possibly even his career.

"I would give him the same advice to him or any of my clients as if he were my son," McGuire told reporters in a phone interview. "The game is physical enough, and the way Peyton plays the game, he needs all the elements of his physical game. Him being sick, and the level of his sickness, is the equivalent of being injured.

"Not only could he have hurt himself but he could have hurt his team. Nobody embodies Cleveland like Peyton Hillis. If anyone wants to point a finger, point it at me."

Of course, it makes sense for McGuire to want to protect the health of his client. Hillis has become one of the league's hottest stars after rushing for nearly 1,200 yards and 11 touchdowns last season. Team president Mike Holmgren and general manager Tom Heckert have been working hard to extend the contracts of those they consider 'core players' and re-signing Hillis should be a top priority. He is in the final year of his contract and should be in store for a big payday.

Any serious injury this season could cost Hillis, and in turn, McGuire, a lot of money.

While money may be perceived as a major factor, keeping Hillis healthy should be a paramount concern for the Browns. Injuries and a heavy workload caused Hillis to wear down late last season and he failed to score in the final five games.

Protecting Hillis now, instead of running him into the ground, might just be the key to allowing him to finish the season strong this year.

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