Cleveland Browns running back Peyton Hillis is unhappy about his current contract situation. He's so unhappy, though, that his griping and questionable tactics may be starting to affect his teammates.
Yahoo! Sports' Michael Silver reports that there is growing dissensionin the Cleveland locker room over Hillis' continued standoff with the organization over the contract. Hillis, who broke out last season with 1,177 rushing yards, is on the last year of his rookie contract. He's slated to make $600,000 this season.
Yetthe bruising back's quest for a new deal is starting to get in the way of his production, at least according to his teammates. Hillis missed a game in September because of illness, and since then, there have been various things that have gotten his teammates peeved.
According to Silver's story, the Browns even held an intervention of sorts with Hillis to try to communicate to him how his actions were affecting the team as a whole.
"A few guys tried to talk to him, to make him understand the best way to go about things is to put your head down and do the best you possibly can," tackle Joe Thomas told Silver. "Because if the Browns aren't going to pay you, some team will break the bank — and either way you need to play hard."
Another Browns player was a little more critical.
"I've never seen anything like it," a Cleveland player told Silver. "Last year, Peyton was such a positive, inspirational force on our team — but now he's like a different guy. It's like he's in a funk that he can't get out of us, and it's killing us, because we really need him. And we've told him that. But we're at the point where we just don't know what to do."
The problems look likely to continue this week, too. Hillis isn't expected to play this weekend, as he battles a hamstring injury. He missed the last two weeks because of it, and he probably won't be able to go against Houston on Sunday after re-aggravating it this week in practice.
Hillis has appeared in just four games this season, and has rushed for 211 yards total. To put that in perspective, Hillis ran for 184 yards in a surprising Browns win over the Patriots on Oct. 24, 2010.