Reporting Justin Pawlowski
On Tuesday the Buccaneers made it official by signing forgotten running back Peyton Hillis to a one-year deal.
Just two years ago, Hillis was on top of the NFL world as one of the NFL’s biggest celebrities. Coming off a 2010 season where he gained nearly 1200 yards and totaled 11 touchdowns, Hillis’ main focus for the 2011 season was to get rewarded with a new multi-year contract for his achievements. Hillis had risen in fame so much, that it was him who became the Madden 12 cover boy. The focus he put on that new contract far out-weighed the focus he put on helping the Browns win at the time and ultimately led to his dismissal out of Cleveland.
In 2012, Hillis was envisioned as giving the Chiefs a nice 1-2 punch with him and Jamaal Charles in the backfield. Hillis ended the season with just 85 carries for less than 400 yards.
Now with his 4th NFL team in his short NFL career, Hillis still has natural raw talent that can benefit the Buccaneers offense.
The Bucs had hoped to make Legarrette Blount something he wasn’t the past couple years.
He was not a good receiver.
He was not a good blocker.
Oh Lord, let’s not see him in the game for short-yardage again.
Enter the Anti-Blount, Peyton Hillis.
Despite outside distractions, Hillis is still known as a bruising back that will run defenders over, while displaying enough wiggle to get through a hole.
Hillis can also be a nice threat in the passing game. Hillis is more than capable at holding his ground in pass protection and has the experience to understand blitzing schemes from defenses. He also possesses very soft hands out of the backfield, making him a threat as an outlet for Josh Freeman.
Yes, both Blount and Hillis have had issues off the field, but Hillis brings abilities to the field that Blount never had despite the Bucs hoping he’d develop.
Hillis has been given an opportunity to resurrect a career that had nearly been forgotten. He is no guarantee to make the final roster, but if he does, he could be a valuable role player for the Bucs offense.
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