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Putting the Peyton Hillis strep throat controversy to bed

Tennessee Titans v Cleveland Browns

CLEVELAND, OH - OCTOBER 02: Running back Peyton Hillis #40 of the Cleveland Browns is tackled by cornerback Cortland Finnegan #31 of the Tennessee Titans at Cleveland Browns Stadium on October 2, 2011 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Matt Sullivan/Getty Images)

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Fueled by a report from last Sunday by ESPN’s Adam Schefter the some Browns players believe that running back Peyton Hillis’ decision to sit out of the Week Three game against the Dolphins due to strep throat was driven by his contract status and exacerbated by his agent’s admission that he advised Hillis not to play, the question of whether Hillis staged a non-holdout holdout has become a hot topic in Cleveland.

And, as we’re learning via our network of sources, it shouldn’t be.

Per a source with knowledge of the situation, a meeting between Hillis’ agent and the team occurred the day after the Miami game. And while progress still need to be made (not so much as to amount but as to structure and guarantee), there was no reason for Hillis to make any type of statement by shying away from playing.

Confirming this mindset on Friday was receiver Josh Cribbs, who said that the players aren’t questioning Hillis in any way.

So even though it became a big story (especially in Cleveland), it’s apparently a non-story. Indeed, if the Browns had any reason to believe that Hillis didn’t play because of his contract, would team president Mike Holmgren agree to continue to have discussions on a long-term deal, at least until Hillis regains the franchise’s trust? We don’t think so.