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Peyton Hillis: “I really was sick, I have no reason to lie about that”

Cleveland's Peyton Hillis celebrates scoring on the Colts during an NFL football game in Indianapolis

Cleveland Browns running back Peyton Hillis celebrates in the end zone after scoring a touchdown against the Indianapolis Colts during the third quarter of their NFL football game in Indianapolis September 18, 2011. REUTERS/Brent Smith (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL)


Browns running back Peyton Hillis is aware that some people think he sat out Week Three against the Dolphins not because he was sick, as he says, but because he’s sick of playing for a league-minimum salary. But Hillis says the people who know him, in Cleveland and elsewhere, know that he’s not the type to fake an illness as a contract ploy.

“That’s fine, everybody has their opinion, but I really was sick,” Hillis said on the Dan Patrick Show. “I have no reason to lie about that. If you really want to create a stir you would, and that’s not the kind of guy I am. I’m a guy that’s going to go out there and do his business.”

Hillis said he woke up on the morning of the Browns’ 17-16 win over the Dolphins feeling terrible and thought he couldn’t make it through a game.

“It was my decision,” Hillis said. “It was something that hindered me, my sickness. I lost a lot of weight and I was throwing up. I had strep throat and I was very weak, and when I came in to the stadium early that morning I got looked at by the doctors and the training staff and decided that it was best for me that I didn’t play.”

After a breakout season last year, Hillis has been mediocre this year, with 54 carries for 197 yards and two touchdowns. Combine the drop off in Hillis’s play with his public comments about his agent advising him not to play sick, his feeling that the Browns don’t appreciate him and his concern that he won’t be able to finish his career in Cleveland, and it’s easy to see why some people think his contract status is affecting him.

But Hillis says his focus is on the field.

“I still have a year left on my deal, I have to play out this year, and whatever happens after that will happen,” he said. “All I can control is me going out to the football field and do my best.”