Face the facts Cleveland: It has been a tough year for sports in a city that hasn’t seen a championship since 1964. With LeBron James spurning the city he grew up near, there was little left to admire until the emergence of Peyton Hillis. The Cleveland Browns traded for him and now Peyton Hillis, a white running back, is earning the hearts of the Cleveland faithful.
Go ahead and try to find another white running back who has amassed at least 1,000 yards rushing; you won’t find one in 2010 other than Peyton Hillis. In fact, the last white running back to gain at least 1,000 yards was John Riggins of the Washington Redskins in 1984.
Peyton Hillis, at 6’1″ and 240 pounds, is built like an offensive lineman and is proving that given the chance, this “white boy” can play.
Hillis was selected in the seventh round by the Denver Broncos and was asked to play fullback despite his versatility shown in college. Hillis was used as a fullback, halfback, tight end, wide receiver, kick returner and punt returner at different points in his collegiate career at the University of Arkansas-Fayetteville.
While on the Dan Patrick Show, Hillis stated he was a team player and kept his mouth shut. He wanted nothing else but to get on the field. When the Broncos traded him he was upset at first, but now that he has found a home in Cleveland, the Broncos are nothing but a distant memory.
“When you walk around Cleveland, the fans are starving for a winner and a successful team, and you saw how upset they were when LeBron left,” Hillis said. “You just want to win it for them. …The fans support you, and even in my home state I don’t get as much recognition as I do in Cleveland.”
Hillis was the Browns’ offense for 2010. He was 12th in rushing with 1,164 yards with 11 touchdowns and was 36th in the league in receptions with 60, third among running backs in that latter category.
He’s even started getting nicknames like Chuck Norris and the Albino Rhino, but in actuality he is the “Great White Hope.” Peyton Hillis is showing that white guys can run the ball despite the trash being talked to him by the other players.
Hillis stated that during the Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens games, many of his opponents would talk trash by saying, “Come on white boy, you can’t run,” and etc. But Hillis was only inspired and it has showed.
Peyton Hillis is proving that a white athlete doesn’t have to be an offensive lineman or pocket quarterback passer. He’s a running back who powers over others and has the entire city of Cleveland behind him.