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Alright. I'm going to go ahead and get this out of the way.
Peyton Hillis was out of the lineup for last week's game due to strep throat. Why?
I am not one to believe in curses, but the well-being of Hillis was shoved into immediate peril as soon as NFL fans decided to vote him onto the cover of Madden NFL 12.
Hillis had a breakout year last season, sure. But was it valid of an NFL cover? Should we be throwing a young back, already a danger to himself by the way he plays the game, into a near-guarantee?
It seemed as though the curse might be lifted when Brandon Jackson went down, giving Hillis the vast majority or reps. Silly.
The curse always finds a way.
A mere week on the bench for Hillis threw rookie Montario Hardesty into the very modest spotlight that the Cleveland Browns can provide.
Hardesty had 17 carries for 86 yards in his debut as a starter, adding three receptions for 19 yards.
According to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Browns coach Pat Shurmur was quite impressed with the young back.
“He had some good runs and he played a really physical game, probably more than I expected he would play,” Shurmur said.
Hardesty's play may have earned him a time share in Cleveland, but either way, he is clearly set for a boost in touches.
Hillis hasn't looked as explosive as last season, and at only 3.4 yards per carry, the Browns are already worried they need to limit Hillis' touches.
Look for Hardesty to increase his role as the season goes on, potentially becoming a starter if the curse continues to hold true.