Did Peyton Hillis sit because of contract?

This won’t make Cleveland Browns fans too happy.

RB Peyton Hillis skipped last Sunday’s game because of strep throat. Sounds reasonable.

However, Adam Schefter of ESPN is reporting that Hillis’ teammates are wondering if Hillis’ decision not to play has something to do about the lack of a new contract.  In his current deal, Hillis is getting $600,000 for 2011.

For his part, Hillis doesn’t feel like he has to explain himself.

After staying at the team hotel on Saturday night, Hillis went to Browns Stadium intending to play but was sent home two hours before kickoff.

“The people that really care about me and want the best for me would understand,” he said.  “And the people that don’t, then they don’t. But I can’t control that. And I’m going to do what’s best for me at that point. If it’s going to jeopardize my health in that situation, I’m going to take my own life in my own hands and do the best I can.”

Hillis said he lost “10 to 12″ pounds while he was ill, and that he has put some of the weight back on.  “My weight wasn’t there. My energy wasn’t there,” he said. “‘I knew it wasn’t my time that day. Me and the doctors talked it over and they probably didn’t think it was the best thing to go out there. It was very disheartening. I know I’m not 100 percent, then I know I can’t give it my all. I didn’t want to hurt the team.”

Hillis was asked about contract negotiations between his agent and the Browns. The team has signed four other players to extensions in the past month.

“I know other people may think differently, but it’s really out of my mind,” Hillis said. “I don’t care. If the Browns wanted to extend me, they would. That really puts the ball in my court. I’ve got to go out there and produce. All I can do is what I can control. I can just go out there and play.”


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