“It means a lot to me and my family,” Hillis said. “I just want to say thank you.”
A year ago, Hillis on the Madden cover would have sounded like a joke: Hillis was shipped from Denver to Cleveland last offseason as part of the Brady Quinn trade, and it wasn’t even a sure thing that Hillis would make the Browns’ roster.
Hillis didn’t just make the roster, he became the Browns’ go-to player, carrying 270 times for 1,177 yards and 11 touchdowns and catching another 61 passes for 477 yards and two more touchdowns.
And now Hillis is the public face of one of the most prominent consumer products associated with the NFL. In a year, he’s gone from little-known role player to bona fide star.