During a media session today, Cleveland Browns left tackle Joe Thomas had plenty to say about his former teammates Peyton Hillis, who’s now with the Chiefs.
“I think it was better for both sides (that he left),” said Thomas. “At that point the situation with him here was toxic, and he didn’t want to be here and players didn’t want him here. It was better for a fresh start at that point.”
Thomas attributed it all to Hillis’ botched attempt at trying get a new deal.
“It was just the fact, he decided his contract was more important than coming out and playing and helping his team win, and it left us without a running back and then we had a few injuries that hurt us further, with Montario (Hardesty) being down and Brandon Jackson, losing him in training camp.
“(Hillis) went about trying to get a contract a certain way, and it ended up hurting the other 52 guys in the locker room. That was his decision.”
Thomas told reporters in training camp that if the team chose up sides, no one would choose Hillis.
“He wasn’t real popular around here the way he went about his business,” said Thomas. “Not that they didn’t like him as a person, but just the way he hurt the team from not coming to play.”
Was that out of character?
“Yeah, no question, he was everything people knew about him: hard-working, blue-collar tough,” said Thomas. “The next year all he cared about what trying to get his new contract. I think he was getting poor guidance on how to go about his business. The way he chose it really hurt the team.”
Thomas said: “I don’t know, you guys tell me. I don’t know if strep throat and whatever other injuries he had should keep you out of an NFL game or several. All I know is Alex Mack’s appendix blew up and he played. A lot of guys tried to help him and give him guidance, and he wasn’t listening.”
Thomas added: “It was a strange year. Everyone here is glad we’re beyond it, and I’m sure Peyton’s glad he’s past it too because it was a strange season.”
What’s really sad is that Hillis ruined a opportunity to get the one big contract every NFL running back desires and now he’s on a short-term deal with the Chiefs and making noting compared to what he would have receive if he had just behaved in Cleveland.