Tampa Bay Bucs sign running back Peyton Hillis

July 23, 2013

In a move designed to provide some insurance behind emerging star Doug Martin, The Tampa Bay Buccaneers announced today the signing of running back Peyton Hillis to a one-year contract.

Hillis (6-2, 250) enters his sixth year in the NFL with rather pedestrian career numbers of 597 rushes for 2,470 yards (4.1 avg.), and 111 receptions for 867 yards.

However, Hillis has demonstrated in the past that he can perform at a Pro Bowl level, as seen by his breakthrough 2010 season with the Cleveland Browns when he ranked sixth in the NFL in scrimmage yards with 1,654 yards. That season, he also tied for third in the league with 13 total touchdowns (11 rushing, 2 receiving), and became the first player in Browns history to rush for 1,000 yards, record 50 receptions, and score 10 touchdowns in a season.

Since that season, Hillis has struggled to recapture the same level of productivity, averaging a mere 3.6 yards per carry in both 2011 and 2012.

Fortunately for Hillis, he will have little pressure on him to be "the man." That title will belong exclusively to young Martin, who had an outstanding rookie year rushing for 1454 yards on 319 carries (4.6 avg.).

Perhaps the pressure-free environment will benefit Hillis, as he will enter training camp knowing he will be competing for the number 2 slot behind Martin.

Hillis originally entered the league as a seventh-round pick (227th overall) of the Denver Broncos in 2008. An Arkansas native, Hillis played collegiately at the University of Arkansas, where he was part of a backfield that included future NFL players RB Darren McFadden and RB Felix Jones.

The team also announced the waiving of running back Matt Brown.

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