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July 23, 2013 @ 6:47 pm
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Bucs Bolster RB Depth By Signing Hillis To 1-Year Deal

Written by Scott
Scott Reynolds


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Just prior to the start of Buccaneers training camp, Tampa Bay added experience to the running back position by signing veteran Peyton Hillis to a one-year deal. The 6-foot-2, 250-pound Hillis worked out for the team at One Buccaneer Place on Tuesday.
On the eve of Buccaneers players reporting for training camp, Tampa Bay added experienced depth to its running back stable by signing Peyton Hillis, who is entering his fifth season in the league out of Arkansas. Hillis, who tried out with the Buccaneers on Tuesday along with NFL veterans tight end Visanthe Shiancoe and defensive tackle Tommie Harris, signed a one-year deal with Tampa Bay.

The Bucs are looking for a primary backup to starter Doug Martin, who rushed for 1,454 yards and 11 touchdowns on 319 carries during a sensational rookie season. Hillis will compete with Michael Smith, Brian Leonard, Mike James, the team's sixth-round pick in 2013, Matt Brown and Jeff Demps for the right to back up Martin.

Of the current running backs on the Bucs roster, only Leonard has any starting experience, starting eight of the 71 games he's played in during his six years in the NFL. Hillis has started 33 of the 65 games he's played in during his four years in the NFL.

Hillis has rushed for 2,470 yards and 21 touchdowns on 597 carries playing for Denver (2008-09), Cleveland (2010-11) and Kansas City (2012).

After two seasons with the Broncos where his carries were limited, Hillis had a breakout year in 2010, rushing for 1,177 yards and 11 touchdowns on 270 carries (4.4 avg.) in his first year with the Browns. He also caught a career-high 61 passes for 477 yards and two additional TDs.

Hillis became a fan favorite in Cleveland, and even landed on the cover of the popular Madden video game the following year, but didn't find much success after squabbling with the team in asking for a lucrative contract extension. In 2011, Hillis carried the ball 161 times for 587 yards (3.6 avg.) and only three scores, while catching 22 passes for 130 yards. Those disappointing numbers prompted Cleveland to let him go after the season.

The 6-foot-2, 250-pound Hillis, who has been described as a slightly lesser version of Tampa Bay's legendary fullback Mike Alstott, spent the 2012 campaign with Kansas City where the disappointment continued. Hillis rushed for 309 yards and one touchdown on 85 carries (3.6 avg.) and did not show the tackle-breaking ability he displayed in his big year in Cleveland during the 2010 season.

Last modified on Tuesday, 23 July 2013 19:24

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    Most definitely worth a chance....I like the type of runner he could be. I agree with the attitude issue brought up BUT he has been unemployed lately and that tends to wake up some folks. Perhaps he now realizes he has a chance to be a difference maker and get back on track for a decent career. He can catch the ball too which has got to be a big factor in our offense. With a threat that can catch it will open up the middle more and then look out for 22.. GO BUCS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Finally starting to get excited about this year. We need a good one.
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    I really like this signing of Hillis. Use him as a third down back, a short yardage back, a backup RB, and a backup for Lorig. We still will need to keep Smith as a change of pace RB and a kick off returner and special team's player. Hillis is a legitimate 1,000 yard rusher! I doubt that Leonard or James will make this roster now, but James could develop on the Practice Squad. We now have legitimate competition for every position on the Bucs; so this is really getting exciting now! DOM is to be congratulated for greatly strengthening our depth at every position. We surely have the coaching to keep us competitive even if we have injuries during this year, with all this quality depth at every position.
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    Lorig is a nice FB and will be our starting FB this yr write it down will Hillis make the team it depends on what he shows the Bucs in training camp and preseason, if he does make the team I wonder if they will blow the train noise over the loud speaker when he carries the ball, lol
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    I was kind of more interested to see what Smith could do this year....hope he still gets a legitimate chance.
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    Nice! A stable of capable, savvy RB's. Hillis has to be stoked to play for a team that loves to pound tha rock!
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    Peyton Hillis is an accomplished runner, capable of handling the load offensively if need be, can run and catch out of the backfield and is a good change of pace from Martin, in short I LOVE this pick. Leonard should be headed out of town as long as Hillis has a productive camp.
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    I was hoping for this pick up a few months ago but I'm sure all this waiting lowered his asking price. I think this has a lot less to do with Lorig as it does with Leonard/James. He's not a FB but rather a reliable 3rd down receiver/blocker and short yard guy. If you put him behind Lorig, you should be able to get every 3rd and less than 2. Everyone needs to stop with the A-train comparisons. Sure he's a big white RB but to compare him to one of the top 5 Bucs of all time isn't fair to either of them.
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    JRWilson, Id like to point out that his breakout year in 2010 was his 3rd year in the league, not his rookie year. He was traded from the Brocos to the Browns for Brady Quinn I believe. Just pointing it out, no disrespect meant.
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    I like the pick up providing he brought his cleveland lunch pail and team first attitude along with him.
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    Sounds like a guy that is all about getting paid or he won't perform. I know that is the norm for most players but I just can't stand a guy that bases everything about the money and not for the love of football. Great players have a real love for the game. Remember Alstott. He left everything out on the field every time he played. That is the kind of fire a player has to have.Hillis certainly is built to be a successful FB. Maybe a change of scenery and some good team mates will be enough for him to get the fire back. Anyway, what have the Bucs got to lose.
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    tjbucsman hit the nail on the head. Hillis was a late round draft pick out of Arkansas and he had a monster rookie season in 2010. I blame a lot of his contract demands to an unreasonable agent. He overplayed his hand and wound up down the road. The guy has some ability. I think he gained some humility and probably some perspective too. The NFL is just like any employer in the regular peoples job market. They hold the cards and if you step out of line too far you're down the road. He could be used as a short yardage back or a FB or an Hback so he has some versatility. The competition between Lorig, Leonard and Hillis should produce a good player. Lorig isn't chopped liver either. He and Hillis came into the league the same year. Lorig as a DE and Hillis as a RB/FB. Hillis may have more ability as a runner, but Lorig is a beast (defensive mentality) blocking and catching and Leonard has some ability as well. All three of them are tough guys and competition is a good thing.
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    Hillis was drafted in 2008 by Denver. He had his breakout season two years later in Cleveland.
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    I like the pick up as well. He can catch and pass block, so he can play 3rd down, change of pace, goal-line. He's fairly versatile.
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    I don't see him beating Lorig out of a job.
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    Good size. 6'2" 230-250 lbs. Could be a nice hammering change up during a tricky game. Dunn and A-Train?
  • avatar

    I like this pick up. If he stays healty An his attitude is in check he can produce in this offence
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