After a shocking breakout campaign last season, Cleveland Browns running back Peyton Hillis has been an incredibly controversial figure in 2011. Rumors are now swirling, out of the blue, that Hillis is reportedly going to be getting married today in Arkansas, according to talk-sports.net (h/t Busted Coverage).
This comes on the heels of other curious events, such as Hillis surprisingly beating Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick to become the cover boy of Madden 12 and strep throat keeping him out of a game against the Miami Dolphins in Week 3.
It was reported by Scott Petrak of The Chronicle-Telegram that Hillis, who is currently dealing with a hamstring ailment that caused him to miss Sunday's game, is engaged to be married.
Talk-sports.net said that Hillis was to be married to a woman reportedly named Amanda whom, according to the report's claims, he impregnated. This information came to light Saturday.
Of course, there is a chance that all of this wedding talk—and/or the shotgun aspect—is pure hearsay. The source is anonymous and unconfirmed at this point, and it could very well be somebody who is either out to get Hillis or out for attention by spreading the rumor. The particular website that is reporting called Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger's secret wedding correctly, however.
Assuming the rumors are true, though, getting married is obviously Hillis' prerogative, but to do it during a work week when he should be working to get back on the football field is a bit irresponsible. Hillis seems to be angling for a new contract from the Browns, but if he continues with his shenanigans, then why should they give it to him?
The consensus seems to be that Hillis could have played with strep throat a few weeks back, but he was advised by his agent to sit out. This raised a red flag with regards to his commitment to the Browns, and this most recent stunt isn't likely to make him look good, either.
While backup Montario Hardesty didn't exactly set the world on fire on Sunday, the Browns didn't hesitate to hand him the ball 33 times against the Seattle Seahawks. Since the Browns obviously trust Hardesty, you have to wonder if they might be willing to let Hillis walk.
Hillis may want a new contract, but I'm starting to believe that he wants it from a team other than the Browns. A player who wants to remain with his current club typically plays hard and does everything in his power to help his team, but you have to wonder if Hillis has done that this season.
It really is in bad taste for Hillis to treat the Browns this way too, since they were the ones who gave him the chance to be their workhorse despite a stigma against white running backs in the NFL. Without the Browns, Hillis may have continued on in his career as little more than an anonymous full back.
The Browns made him a household name of sorts and are now paying for it because of Hillis' prima-donna attitude. I'm not going to speculate on Hillis' motives for marrying this mystery woman, but I will say that the timing is nothing short of awful.
Football players have a fairly lengthy offseason, and with the Browns unlikely to makes the playoffs, Hillis will have plenty of time to get married once the season ends. This seems like a calculated attempt to stick it to the Browns on his part, though, and if that is the case, then the Browns ought to let him walk.
Hillis will likely catch on somewhere for a fair amount of money, but the Browns shouldn't be the ones to finance his offseason honeymoon, unless of course he decides to go to the Bahamas with his new bride this week rather than give it a go against the San Francisco 49ers.