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NFL: Joe Thomas, Peyton Hillis trade barbs

Published December 8, 2012 4:43 pm

NFL • Browns' Thomas still miffed at ex-teammate Hillis.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Peyton Hillis' 2010 season was one to remember, his 2011 season one to forget.

Guess which has stuck with former teammate Joe Thomas.

In advance of Sunday's game between Thomas' Cleveland Browns and Hillis' Kansas City Chiefs, the offensive lineman and the running back traded barbs about a contract dispute that derailed a season.

After rushing for 1,177 yards and scoring 11 touchdowns in 2010, Hillis campaigned for a long-term contract with the Browns. When it was not forthcoming, he began missing games with various ailments, including a hamstring injury and, most memorably, a bout of strep throat.

He rushed for just 587 yards and three touchdowns in 2011, and was allowed to become a free agent.

Thomas, however, wasn't willing to forget what he perceived to be selfish actions. Among his comments:

• "He crippled our offense. … To have Peyton going through a contract dispute and basically refusing to play, it was a big distraction."

• "All he cared about [one year] was winning, and then all of a sudden the next year, all he cared about was trying to get his new contract."

• I think it was better for both sides [he left]. At that point, the situation with him here was toxic … and players didn't want him here.

Hillis thought his ex-teammate should let it go, but not without getting in a few digs of his own:

• "Joe Thomas, he can have his opinions all he wants. It's kind of like a crazy ex-girlfriend, you know? It's been over a year. Get over it."

• "I guess when you get paid over $100 million by one team, it's kind of easy to point the finger at another guy and hate on him for trying to get another contract."