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Hillis defends his decision not to play with strep throat

Cleveland's Peyton Hillis watches the game during an NFL football game in Indianapolis

Cleveland Browns running back Peyton Hillis (40) waits on the sidelines near the end of the game against the Indianapolis Colts during the fourth quarter of their NFL football game in Indianapolis September 18, 2011. REUTERS/Brent Smith (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)


On Sunday, Browns running back Peyton Hillis missed the team’s win over the Dolphins due to a case of strep throat. He was criticized for not playing by some, including former Browns players Bob Golic and Hanford Dixon on the WOIO-TV postgame show.

On Thursday, Hillis addressed the situation, via Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

“The people that really care about me, and want the best for me would understand,’' Hillis said. “And the people that don’t, then they don’t. But I can’t control that. And I’m going to do what’s best for me at that point. If it’s going to jeopardize my health in that situation, I’m going to take my own career and my own life in my own hands and do the best I can.’'

Hillis said he realized he couldn’t play on Sunday morning, at the stadium. “Things started unfolding and my weight wasn’t there,” Hillis said. “My energy wasn’t there. I knew it wasn’t my time that day. Me and the doctors talked it over and they probably didn’t think it was the best thing to go out there.”

Hillis, per Cabot, “didn’t really say” if the coaching staff tried to talk him into playing. Which possibly means that they tried, and that Hillis has opted not to disclose that.

Though many will point to the Madden curse as a reason for Hillis missing a game due to a case of strep throat, we’re more inclined to wonder whether Hillis’ unwillingness to play was influenced in any way by the lack of a new contract. Hillis continues to earn the fourth-year minimum of $600,000. If the team had made a long-term commitment with a big-money bonus, would Hillis have been more willing to give it a try?

Either way, he says he’ll be 100 percent on Sunday, when the Titans come to town.