Hillis defends his decision not to play with strep throat


On Sunday, Browns running back Peyton Hillis missed the team’s win over the Dolphins due to a case of strep throat.  He was criticized for not playing by some, including former Browns players Bob Golic and Hanford Dixon on the WOIO-TV postgame show.

On Thursday, Hillis addressed the situation, via Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

“The people that really care about me, and want the best for me would understand,” Hillis said.  “And the people that don’t, then they don’t.  But I can’t control that.  And I’m going to do what’s best for me at that point.  If it’s going to jeopardize my health in that situation, I’m going to take my own career and my own life in my own hands and do the best I can.”

Hillis said he realized he couldn’t play on Sunday morning, at the stadium.  “Things started unfolding and my weight wasn’t there,” Hillis said.  “My energy wasn’t there.  I knew it wasn’t my time that day.  Me and the doctors talked it over and they probably didn’t think it was the best thing to go out there.”

Hillis, per Cabot, “didn’t really say” if the coaching staff tried to talk him into playing.  Which possibly means that they tried, and that Hillis has opted not to disclose that.

Though many will point to the Madden curse as a reason for Hillis missing a game due to a case of strep throat, we’re more inclined to wonder whether Hillis’ unwillingness to play was influenced in any way by the lack of a new contract.  Hillis continues to earn the fourth-year minimum of $600,000.  If the team had made a long-term commitment with a big-money bonus, would Hillis have been more willing to give it a try?

Either way, he says he’ll be 100 percent on Sunday, when the Titans come to town.

91 responses to “Hillis defends his decision not to play with strep throat

  1. My daughter just got over the same thing,the dude was sick,at any level of football,If your heads not in it you can get your bell rung good,,mabey worse..I think he’ll play with a vengance sunday.

  2. He lost 12 pounds during his illness. Clearly he wasn’t ready.

    One time I had strep throat and took amoxicillin for it, and nothing happened. In fact, the strep throat got worse and worse. They finally had to give me ceclor. The strep ended up lasting about 15 days. Good times, good times.

  3. Puhleeeeez. The Browns won. M. Hardesty got to see some action and played well. Who gives a rat’s ass. After witnessing last year’s performance by Hillis in such a face-saving way for the franchise, I’m inclined to believe he did the correct thing for himself, his teammates and the fans.

  4. Terrell Davis played in a super bowl with a migraine that was so painful it blocked his vision. He ran practically blind (I know cause I get these) and had 157 yards and 3 TDs. I know strep throat weakens you by fever, but ya know…..

  5. Well, the dude killed my fantasy team, but yeah, if a dude is weak and tired from being sick, he’s more likely to get injured.

  6. @kayotiicdat…have you ever had Strep throat? I don’t think you have, because if you have you know that when the virus hits you, its like a ton of bricks, and walking to the bathroom is a chore.

  7. kayotiicdat says:
    Sep 29, 2011 7:08 PM
    If you don’t play because of Strep Throat then LMAO @ you.. What a softy


    Sure kay, i am sure you wouldn’t go to your Burger King job if you had strep throat, so leave the kid alone.

  8. He was sick. He didn’t play. I won’t argue his dedication. And if Golic doesn’t like it then it speaks well of Hillis.

  9. Seeing that Strep Throat is contagious and can be spread by sweat, coughing, sneezing, and not to mention being passed on through contact with common inanimate objects like door knobs and footballs, I’m sure the other players are appreciative by Hillis staying home and not getting the others exposed.

    For him to have to defend himself speaks to the ignorance of those judging him.

  10. I actually had to sign up to let know how much of an idiot @kayotiicdat is!!! I am 100 percent certain that if you had a chance to stand in front of Hillis and take a hit you would crap your pants and run home to your mother crying….Hillis a softy because he didn’t play with strep throat?? Get the hell out of here…ignorant people don’t belong on this site and you fall under that category. Have you ever had strep throat before, or been sick? I am pretty sure you felt like you had 12 red bulls right? I doubt it, if so you are dumber then I am giving you credit for. He probably didn’t have energy, what good is a guy to his team if he has no energy and he goes out there and gets blown up??? I would say don’t be a moron but you are a little late on that one!

  11. If the Browns ever make the post-season, again, and Hillis is on the roster, I’m recruiting as many sick people as I can to go out and seek his autograph, and shake his hand, in the hopes he’ll contract something and sit out the playoff game against my team.

    BTW, I hear he’s questionable this week with hemorrhoids. If he was a bench guy he’d probably be inactive again this week.

  12. I’ve had Strep twice.

    Fevers of 103 for over a week straight. Sweating in bed, breaking the fever, fever goes up again, sweating in bed, ad nauseum.

    Mine got so bad I couldn’t physically swallow liquids like soup, tea, or water. I was given a shot of Demoral, just so I could eat chicken noodle soup.

    Maybe I’m a big baby too, but I don’t think it’s anything to laugh at.

    Nothing annoys me more when people criticize a player’s heart or toughness in any situation.

    You’re not in that person’s shoes, so shut your damn mouth.

  13. And I realized I made a typo and called you an idiot at the same time so save that 5 year old argument for a comeback!

  14. kayotiicdat says
    If you don’t play because of Strep Throat then LMAO @ you.. What a softy

    Says a person who a) has probably stayed home from his or her job at some time with a cold or b gone to work and infected co-workers without a second thought

  15. (A) – people can DIE (jackasses) from strep throat
    (B)- he’d lost 10 lbs or so – try to take his load w/ that same deal (p#$$? – @SS#&- jackasses)!

    i’m sure he didn’t have vaginal discharge like kayotiicdat!!! which could also be bleeding out of the nose!

  16. If the team had made a long term commitment, maybe he would have given it a try…? Um no. In fact it is just the opposite. It is way more common to underperform/sit out games, etc AFTER the big payday. (see Frank Gore)

  17. IamThorny didn’t get the part about ignorant people!!! Sucks to be him I guess…no one works harder in around the league than Peyton Hillis!

  18. Softy my butt!!! If you knew anything about this condition you would realize that the ramifications for both the player and his teammates are serious and real. Team wise this condition is contagious for 24 to 48 hrs. AFTER introduction of antibiotics. Wanna get the whole team sick? Player wise, there are numerous complications that can arise and some of them are quite severe. This man made the absolute right decision . Lay off !

  19. Yeah…strep throat doesn’t sound like much, but it can make simply swallowing absolute torture. I’ve had it twice and would rather have a terrible flu than strep. Trying to run and exert yourself in a football game would be next to impossible, let alone the risk of spreading it to all the other players. This kid is FAR from soft.

  20. I had strep and went to work for over a month with it untreated…yeah, it was hard, but I did it. This guy has to rise up for 16 days a year.

    All these Browns fans defending him sound weak. The guys in the Dawg pound wouldn’t claim you, or would they?

  21. I’m a Browns fan and someone who’s had strep throat. It’s a highly irritating but more importantly it’s a highly contagious condition. I don’t want the rest of the team infected with strep and I don’t have any questions regarding Hillis’ heart and will to play.

    If the man says it was best he didn’t, I trust his judgement.

  22. juzthadoginme says:Sep 29, 2011 7:12 PM

    My daughter just got over the same thing,the dude was sick,at any level of football,If your heads not in it you can get your bell rung good,,mabey worse..I think he’ll play with a vengance sunday.
    Um, not doing Hillis any favors by comparing him to your daughter.

  23. PFT never disappoints.

    Always a big cesspool of juvenile ignorance and asshats to laugh at.

    Thanks for stirring the pot of ignorance, Mike. You win again.

    Yay for you!

  24. As a steelers fan I’d like to call him a wuss but I missed my college spring game as a player because of it. I couldn’t even stand. They had to walk me to the med center. So I’ll give him a pass.

  25. WOW I am shocked to see everyone defending this guy? Romo was out winning the game of his team with cracked ribs and a lung puntcure. And you guys said Hillis was at risk playing with bad strep? Romo career and lifelong health was in grave danger and he rose up. I can’t stand romo or the cowboys but wow that was ballzy. This was soft … romo took shots and had a custom protective rib protector so he could play. If I were the coach I would have thrown him a sudafed and an orange juice and told him to strap it up.

  26. Strept throats the worst. From the shwab to the 90 pound head feeling for a week.

    As a Steeler fan I would like to see Cleveland compete. If there’s a year to win the division this is it. And Jason Pinkston starting for your squad on an already solid offensive line. It doesn’t matter who’s running that ball. Hey be thankful for a guy like Big Cheese. Played with dude growing up. Hella athlete I would say.

  27. flavordave says:
    Sep 29, 2011 7:15 PM
    Terrell Davis played in a super bowl with a migraine that was so painful it blocked his vision. He ran practically blind (I know cause I get these) and had 157 yards and 3 TDs. I know strep throat weakens you by fever, but ya know…..

    Do you think Terrell Davis would have played with that migraine if it was the third game of the regular season?

    Do you think that Hillis would have sat out the SUPER BOWL with strep thoat?

    If I am the Browns the last thing I need is the best player on my team running around with the ball weakened and possibly disoriented with defenders, neither weakened nor disoriented, flying after him.

    It was the THIRD GAME of the regular season.

    Good Lord, people, lighten up.

  28. Btw, the real concern with strep used to be rheumatic heart fever. Back in the day, they didn’t have good anti-strep medications, so strep in some cases led to rheumatic heart fever, which occasionally led to death. So strep is actually no laughing matter.

    And btw, can anyone name a player who is okay with playing next to someone who has strep?

    Yeah. That’s what I thought.

  29. Apparently, Golic and Dixon have become completely clueless. YES, he should have played, spread strep throat around to his teammates and Dolphins players as well, and maybe he could have even puked on someone for good measure.

    I loved those guys (Golic.Dixon) when they played for the Browns, but apparently, they’ve become a couple of old moe-rons.

  30. Not like this hasn’t already been stated but Strep is miserable, very debilitating, highly unpredictable as to the severity it can reach, if not treated correctly it can actually become a cardiovascular infection, and it’s extremely contagious. No reason to subject the rest of the team to it. That said, I think it’s quite understandable why he was sent home from the facility last Sunday

  31. I’ve got no problem with Hillis sitting out. That said, I have to agree this more to do with his contract situation. He said he has to take of himself and do what was best for him. Reading between the lines, it sure sounds like a guy who doesn’t think the Browns are taking care of him with no new contract.

  32. He sat out the game because the man was sick. Browns won, hardasy got some valuable playing time, hillis feels better and destroys this week. Win win win… he shouldn’t have to explain himself. Keep runnin hard hillis beat titans!

  33. I had strep several times, I was even about to have tonsils taken out cuz of it.. It breaks you out in whole body sweats and your whole body aches like needles poking you everywhere.. I couldnt drink, eat or even swallow my spit without being in extreme pain… My fever was over 104 and moving from my bed to the bathroom was painful…. My neck was stiff and I lost about 15 pounds in a week. And Im a 6-3 260 man.. I work no matter what, if I have the flu, cold, hurt back, headache, hangover, lazy, and whatever is thrown at me.. with one exception (Strep)…. It takes a good week or two just for your throat to heal, then another week to get your body back to normal, and that is for regular people…. now imagine being a football player with strep and your body is weak, your under hydrated, and your still recovering from it, playing in a hot and humid climate… And some A-hole fan expects you to play, get the F out of here….. Im out of shape and chain smoke and I would’ve had a better chance to gain more yards then him, cuz his body wasnt ready…. give the guy a break, im not even a browns fan, and i dont even like Hillis, (only cuz he trucked and jumped over half my Def last year) and i see the highlight on NFL network everyday of him trucking Godfrey, man it hurts to see that…. Other than that, Hillis is a stand up guy, and a good football player…. Get healthy Hillis, and show these cowards why you on the cover of Madden….

  34. sorry madden boy your arms are huge …… but pretty boy romo played with the lung-rib issue

    sorry but he made you look bad

  35. Hillis made the right decision. Given the Browns’ history of staph infection outbreaks, it’s not surprising that they may have encouraged Hillis to play while he had a contagious illness.

  36. Does anyone else think that these criticisms from ex-players just get more and more ignorant over time?

    We’re talking about a highly contagious illness on a team that just a few years ago couldn’t even keep their staph infections in check in week 3 against arguably one of the softer matchups in the league.

    Sometimes these ex players just want to hear themselves talk.

  37. Ok he didn’t play because of his throat umm I get it some ppl can play when there sick some can’t…I don’t blame him…but honestly with that kind of contract he shouldn’t even be playing he’s getting robbed the browns need to pay that man…I say to u hillis if ur not 100% sit out I don’t care if ur 99% ok to play sit out until u get what u have earn and deserve…

  38. If he played and had 4 yards on 6 carries, infected 3 other players and 2 fumbles…….what would the idiots say then?

  39. I can’t even bear the thought of dragging my ass into work and sitting at a cubicle for 8 hours when I”m sick. And I hate when someone comes to work sick. Get over it media, it’s a non story.

  40. lakedog19352 says:
    Sep 29, 2011 7:30 PM
    If the team had made a long term commitment, maybe he would have given it a try…? Um no. In fact it is just the opposite. It is way more common to underperform/sit out games, etc AFTER the big payday. (see Frank Gore)

    Don’t forget Chris Johnson

  41. All you morons trying to use Tony Romo please stop. First, the lung puncture is totally exaggerated. It was the slightest of a puncture, more a teeny, tiny tear that healed before Monday night, yeah what a giant lung puncture that was…Secondly, he wore a freaking FLAK Jacket…he was very well protect and 3rd…I didn’t know a fractured Rib was contagious…damn, I need to catch up in the medical field because I had no clue! As someone pointed out. 3rd game of the year…contagious, high fever, WEAK…going to be hard to produce….besides why are all you haters critical of Hillis? You all probably sit around on your asses hating on athletes on PFT because you couldn’t cut it in any sport. Lastly, any one of you turds would run in fear if Hillis even looked at you with a slight death stare…continue on with your pathetic lives…

  42. I’m pretty sure those who are wishing Hillis would have played are angry Dolphins fans hoping for a competitive advantage. As for the two geniouses on the Browns post game show..wasn’t one of them on Saved by the Bell? Who’s calling who soft?

  43. Hillis is wrong.

    This isn’t all about who does or does not care for Peyton Hillis – as Hillis oversimplifies it.

    Not NFL-worthy, I’ve played football at the collegiate and high school level – and I’d be pissed at myself if I came out over an injury that didn’t have me leaving on a stretcher. Two broken ribs midway through the first quarter. Never missed a snap. Broken metacarpal on non-throwing hand in another season. Never missed a snap.

    This is not about me – nor should it be. Hillis is an elite talent — by comparison, I’m not. Rather, it’s to illustrate that one can care about a fellow player or themself, and still be vehement that a player fight through it. Football is about saying Eff U to all kinds of challenges, including injury (or a bout of the sniffles). I can see why the old school Browns were disappointed.

    Lots of respect for Hillis – he’s a horse and he’s earned it.

    But damn man, Ronnie Lott had a chunk of his hand sawed off to not miss a snap – while Hillis chose to tap out over an overglorified cold.

  44. Hillis did the right thing for himself and his teammates. A guy’s gotta be pretty arrogant to believe he gives his team a better chance to win than his backup even with being weakend with a strep throat and rediculously high temperature.

  45. It’s fair to say that the pressure to play when you sign a huge contract is a lot more then when you’re not far from the league minimum. Of course unless your are Albert Haynesworthless.

  46. @IncredibleHillis40…

    Ignorant? LOL. If you follow the Browns, to begin with, I don’t even need to say another word…but….

    Worse than that your hero skipped an NFL game due to an illness. Name me the last guy in as long as you can remember who skipped an NFL game because he was sick.

    I’ve watched the game for 30+ years and don’t recall anyone skipping a game because they were sick with a common ailment.

    He’s already gone to the coaches and told them not to throw him the ball, this week, because he has a hang nail. He’s tough.

  47. ericrarey says:
    Sep 29, 2011 8:41 PM
    sorry madden boy your arms are huge …… but pretty boy romo played with the lung-rib issue

    sorry but he made you look bad

    If you can’t tell the difference between playing with an injured rib that can be shot up before the game and playing with an energy sapping, CONTAGIOUS, illness that literally renders you unable to function physically, then you are making yourself look bad.

    And to set the record straight for everyone, Romo didn’t play with a punctured lung on Sunday. Doctors declared the puncture fully healed on Thursday. Minor punctures of the lung are not as serious as they sound and heal quickly.

  48. flavordave says:
    Sep 29, 2011 7:15 PM
    Terrell Davis played in a super bowl with a migraine that was so painful it blocked his vision. He ran practically blind (I know cause I get these) and had 157 yards and 3 TDs. I know strep throat weakens you by fever, but ya know…..

    1.Migraines aren’t contagious
    2.You dont lose 12 lbs from Migraines

    But thanks for the history lesson Dr.Seuss

  49. Peyton Hillis lifts some SERIOUS poundage in and out of the weight room year round, plays a position that has multiple 250+lb. guys tackling him at near full speed from all angles every play, in a cold weather city nonetheless….and some of you PFT posting dorks are calling him soft?? Unbelievable.

  50. The Ronnie Lott story is a myth, as much as we would like to believe it, it isnt true. He had the surgery in the offseason.

    You say you never heard of a player missing a game due to illness? You’re either a liar or have never watched a full season. Shut up.

  51. The dude lost like 10 pounds from the illness. I would say that qualifies as being seriously sick. the Browns have a somewhat competent backup. This wasnt a do or die game for them. He would have been seriously dehydrated from the medication and the illness. Thats really asking alot to expect him to play through it. Plus, what were you really going to get from him? Is 25% of Peyton Hillis really worth starting? I think it was the right call to sit and I am not a Browns fan.

  52. if Romo’s lung was really punctured like they made it seem, he would’ve been bleeding from the mouth and unable to breath on his own….. Jerry Jones pumped that story up, why? because look what happened, the media spun it and he probably made some extra dough on jersey sales and and got to promote his business without paying for air time…

  53. HUGE difference between strep throat and your run-of-the-mill cold or ‘sore’ throat… That seems to be one of biggest misunderstandings in this whole thing. Strep throat can be fatal, especially if you exert yourself physically when you’re not fully recovered.

    As others mentioned, the illness toys with your body temp and it’s no myth that it can have a catastrophic effect on your heart. Strep throat killed one of our family friends, Jarrett Brenner, during a Minnesota prep hoops All-Star game about 5 years ago.

    I agree with realitypolice… Romo could take a Cortisone shot and try to simply play through pain. The Hillis/strep thing goes way beyond the realm of just “toughing it out.” On top of that, the Browns still won and they’re learning that Hardesty is a very capable backup.

    It’s absolute NONSENSE that Hillis has to defend sitting out.

  54. Strep throat is not the same thing as a “sore throat.” Judging the dude for the not playing or even more pathetic, suggesting it is because of his contract situation is disrespectful and irresponsible. Strep throat is not a sore throat – it’s a miserable condition that weakens the entire body…not being able to play through an intensified general feeling of malaise and low energy level has nothing to do with determination, strength or being a baby…it’s the human body shutting down to preserve energy to fight a potentially deadly condition. I had my tonsils out because my strep throat was so bad it was actually embedded in the tonsils and stopped responding to antibotics…the throat cultures would come back negative but the bloodwork would show strep. I could barely watch television let alone play a high contact football game.

  55. I hope the Browns make it to the SuperBowl and Hillis and McCoy both are ill and decide to skip the game for fear they might get others sick.

  56. Phillis’ throat was so sore he couldn’t swallow his performance enhancing drugs and suffered sudden weight loss.

  57. What part of “strep throat is contagious” do some of you not understand? This isn’t about gutting it out or “manning up.” I feel he did the right thing, rather than infecting 20 or 30 other players.

  58. yeahyeahyeahbono14 says:
    Sep 29, 2011 7:09 PM
    Josh McDaniels should never be a head coach again.

    And you should never post a comment again. Get over it, dude.

  59. Wow leave it clueless people to come in and attack Hillis. They have obviously not had strep throat.

    The Romo comparison is a joke btw (not to mention to the media/Jerry Jones exxagerating the seriousness of Romo’s injury).

    You can play with pain, get a shot from your doctor. You CAN’T play with a weak body, low energy, not to mention added fatigue from being on antibiotics, and a TEN POUND WEIGHT LOSS. That shows you just how sick he was. Wake up people. You are a hater or you just haven’t had strep before.

  60. The comments Hillis made are a good reason for not playing.

    “Things started unfolding and my weight wasn’t there,” Hillis said. “My energy wasn’t there. I knew it wasn’t my time that day. ”

    If a player has no energy and lost a lot of weight, that means that player is dehydrated. It wouldn’t have done anyone any good to have him on the field playing at 50%. The trainers would have been pumping IV fluids into him just to keep him playing at 50%. I see no reason for a player to be on the field if he’s only going to be a hinderance to his team.

    Think about delhomme coming into the Atlanta game last year with the gimpy ankle after Wallace went down. He had no purpose on the field. He couldn’t move or throw the ball that game. The team would have been better off with McCoy on the field.

  61. If I’m the coach, I know the season is long and understand the significance of having my players healthy in December. Montario Hardesty stepped up and played very well. Teams have depth charts for a reason. Admitting that you’re not 100% and feel that you would be no help to your team, I think says a lot about his character. Time to focus on the next game.

  62. You idiots on here who are bashing Hillis for not playing obviously dont get it that strep throat is contagious and could have affected the whole team which could have led to more losses. I’m sure most of you saying negative comments are steelers or ravens fans. Go back to the hole where you came from!

  63. flavordave says:
    Sep 29, 2011 7:15 PM
    Terrell Davis played in a super bowl with a migraine that was so painful it blocked his vision. He ran practically blind (I know cause I get these) and had 157 yards and 3 TDs. I know strep throat weakens you by fever, but ya know…..


    That was the SuperBowl, not week 3 vs the Dolphins. And I am pretty sure he did not want to go out there and ruin the teams chances of winning while not playing at his best or anywhere near it. Given it be the playoffs or a must win game, I am going to say Hillis, judging by what we know of him, he seems like a guy who will go out and play through an injury.

    Last year, played in that jets game while limping around and still managed to fight through it.

    Cant believe people would doubt him at all. Hope he comes out and goes off this week. He will run at least 4 ppl over this week.

  64. favreforever says:
    Sep 30, 2011 1:34 AM

    Phillis’ throat was so sore he couldn’t swallow his performance enhancing drugs and suffered sudden weight loss

    Translation: “I really wish he was on my team.”

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