At the end of last season, Peyton Hillis was the toast of the Cleveland Browns. After coming to Cleveland as a throw in to the Brady Quinn trade, Hillis made the most of his chance and rushed for over 1,000 yards and had 13 total touchdowns.
But this season has been a challenge for Hillis. Battling injuries and inconsistent play, he's only rushed for 445 yards and three touchdowns this year and the Browns have a big choice to make about whether or not to keep him.
So is he still king in Cleveland? And if so, why?
In 2010, Hillis had an inconsistent, but at times spectacular year. The Browns didn't really expect much out of him, so when he busted out with 181 total yards against a tough Baltimore defense in the third week of the season, Cleveland took notice.
He then followed that up with another 100-yard performance in a win against the in-state rival Bengals. That's a great way to start.
After those two games, Hillis slowed down a little bit, but then broke out again with a spectacular game against the Pats, going over 200 total yards in a surprising win.
It wasn't just that he was playing well, it was how we has doing it. Hillis ran hard, busting through tackles and getting yards when he had no earthly business getting yards. He was a blue collar runner for a blue collar town.
Hillis has never been a back you can set your watch by. One game he would go off, rushing for a hundred yards and catching balls left and right, then the next he would barely register.
This year, Hillis has been plagued by injuries. He missed a game with strep throat and then has been bothered by a hamstring injury for most of the season.
Some people think that the injuries had more to do with his contract dispute with the Browns than actually being hurt, but I think we can all agree that his durability questions did nothing to make the team more likely to sign him to a long term deal.
Hillis getting the Madden cover for this year proved just how enamored Cleveland fans were with him after last year. There's no real reason he should have made the cover over guys like Aaron Rodgers, but fans voted him through.
Is it possible that so quickly in the span of one year that fans could be that excited about Hillis and then ready for him to get the boot?
And have we even considered the Madden curse? All these injuries could be our fault for voting him on in the first place. Serves us right I guess.
The question now is: how much potential do we think Peyton Hillis has? Was he really just a one year wonder or is this year just a bump in the road to a successful career?
It seems like most fans want to believe that Hillis could be their guy for the future, but patience is wearing thin. After a 100-yard effort last week against Arizona, Hillis has two more games to see if he can win back the hearts of those who are ready to see him go.
We want to root for the guy, he just needs to remind us why we like to.