Hillis tweaks hamstring, may miss 3rd in row

Peyton Hillis burst through the line and pulled up suddenly after apparently hurting himself again. As his teammates looked on, Hillis slammed the ball to the ground and flung his orange helmet away in disgust.

A miserable, misguided season had taken another bizarre twist.

Hillis re-injured his left hamstring during practice Friday in Berea, Ohio, the latest moment of drama for the Browns’ bruising back, whose second year with Cleveland has been one misadventure after the next.

Hillis, who has missed Cleveland’s past two games with the injury, will likely sit out Sunday’s game at Houston – yet another setback for the 25-year-old, who rushed for nearly 1,200 yards last season and endeared himself to Cleveland fans with his bulldozing style.

Hillis had returned to practice Thursday for the first time since last week. The Browns (3-4) had hoped he would be back to face the Texans and their No. 3-ranked defense. But it appears Hillis, who has rushed for only 211 yards amid weeks of distractions this season, will have to sit out another game.

After getting an MRI, Hillis, who initially hurt his hamstring Oct. 16 against Oakland, was dropped off at the Browns’ training facility Friday afternoon with his left leg heavily wrapped. He limped badly as he crossed the parking lot and entered the building, carrying the test results in his right hand.

Hillis’ season has played out like a daytime TV soap opera.

His hopes of getting a long-term contract from the Browns, who have signed several veterans to extensions this season, became a public debate before Browns president Mike Holmgren – and later Hillis – declared there would be no more talk about it until after the season. Hillis also caused a stir when he decided to sit out a Sept. 25 game against Miami with a case of strep throat.

And according to a story published Friday by Yahoo Sports, a group of players pulled Hillis aside Wednesday for an “intervention-style, air-clearing session.”

A player who was there confirmed the meeting for The Associated Press, describing it as “a very positive conversation … wouldn’t quite call it an intervention.”


Oakland Raiders star running back Darren McFadden will not play Sunday against Denver because of a sprained right foot, giving Michael Bush his first start of the season. … Houston Texans star receiver Andre Johnson will sit out Sunday’s game against Cleveland – his fifth straight game on the bench – as he continues to nurse a right hamstring injury. … Arizona quarterback Kevin Kolb (turf toe) is doubtful for Sunday’s game against the St. Louis Rams, meaning second-year pro John Skelton probably will start in Kolb’s place. … Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker LaMarr Woodley (hamstring) won’t play Sunday night against Baltimore, but linebacker James Harrison (broken orbital bone) is expected to play for the first time in a month. … New York Giants running back Ahmad Bradshaw does not need surgery right now to repair a broken bone in his right foot, but he is doubtful for Sunday’s game against New England. … Ryan Clark (Steelers), Antrell Rolle (Giants), Justin Smith (49ers) and Bryan Kehl (Rams) were fined $15,000 each for actions during last week’s games.