Deadliest Dawg: The Adventures of Cleveland Browns' Peyton Hillis, Part 1

Andy BaileyFeatured ColumnistOctober 27, 2010

The Cleveland Browns starting running back Peyton Hillis, is the NFL's Chuck Norris.  This is no longer a secret.  Chuck Norris is the toughest, coolest man in Hollywood.  Peyton Hillis is the toughest, coolest man in football.

Something tells me there could be an eventual, final showdown between the two.  Peyton Hillis with his stiff arm and lowered shoulder versus Chuck Norris with his roundhouse kick and beard.  Who would prevail?  This is the subject of "Deadliest Dawg: The Adventures of Peyton Hillis."


Peyton's Formative Years

Peyton's journey began before the dawn of history when he was not born, but forged out of twisted blue steel and molten rock.

He honed his running style as he hunted woolly mammoths on the plains of Pangaea.  He lowered his shoulder through trees, boulders and anything else in his path, as he chased down his prey.

He perfected his fitness regimen in the ancient Spartan military academy known as the Agoge.  He sparred with Sparta's best, and developed into his 6'2", 250-pound frame.

He developed his devastating stiff arm on the dusty grounds of the coliseum of ancient Rome.  His dominance in gladiatorial combat during the glorious era of the Roman Empire was unparalleled.  His cameo in the documentary Gladiator was cut from the film because he brought Maximus to tears during a pre-battle stare-down.

Peyton vanished from the landscape of history for roughly 2,000 years.  What happened in the time between his conquests in Rome, and his current dominance as a member of the NFL's Cleveland Browns, is a grand mystery. 


Peyton Hillis Today

We do know a little about the years of Peyton's life leading up to his NFL career.

In high school, Peyton trained by tying one end of a rope around his waist, and the other end to his dad's pickup truck.  He then dragged the truck all over his neighborhood. 

As a senior in Arkansas, Peyton Hillis ran for 2,631 and 29 touchdowns on 261 carries.  That year he won the Landers Award, which is given to the top high school football player in the state of Arkansas.

He chose to continue his football career at the University of Arkansas, where he was used more as a lead blocker for Darren McFadden than as an actual running back.  The Razorbacks would never use him as a featured back.  Even with a very limited number of carries (4.7 per game), Hillis was able to make an impact.  His average yards per carry during his career as a Razorback was 4.7 and he scored 12 rushing touchdowns.  He also caught 11 touchdowns.

In 2008 he was drafted in the seventh round of the NFL Draft by the Denver Broncos.  Once again, Hillis was used sparingly for much of the year.  That is, until injuries forced Mike Shanahan to give Hillis a more prominent role. 

Over a four-game stretch toward the end of the year, Hillis carried the ball 57 times for 305 yards and five touchdowns.  In a game a couple weeks prior to that outburst, he caught seven balls for 116 yards and a touchdown.

An injury prematurely ended Hillis's rookie campaign, but Denver fans were excited to get him back for the next season.  Enter Josh McDaniels.  Hillis carried the ball 13 times in his second season, and first under McDaniels.  He was packaged in a trade for Brady Quinn the following offseason.

Now, Hillis plays for the Browns where he is more appreciated than he was under McDaniels' regime.



Through seven games as a member of the Browns, Hillis has 460 rushing yards, 193 receiving yards and six total touchdowns.

He's only carried the ball 104 times in seven games due to indecision by the coaching staff early in the year, and injuries in the last few games.

In the two games in which Hillis was the featured back and healthy, he went for 246 yards and two touchdowns on 49 carries.  In those same two games, he made nine receptions.

He's been hobbled for a few weeks, but after this bye week, he should return to the dominant form we saw in Weeks 3 and 4.  He'll be back on track towards his final destiny...the showdown with Chuck Norris.



In the comments section for this article, feel free to write the next sentence in this episode of "Deadliest Dawg: The Adventures of Peyton Hillis."  Contribute any knowledge you may have of the story, including any information you may have about those mysterious 2,000 years when Hillis seemed to have disappeared.  Tell as much of the story as you want, just try to keep each individual comment to ONE SENTENCE.