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Life as a Cleveland Sports Fan

Browns being cautious with Hillis contract

When it comes to extending the contract of third-year running back Peyton Hillis, the Browns are approaching it like a fine BBQ chef.

Low and slow.

Browns general manager Tom Heckert said on Thursday that, “Until we get a contract done with somebody, we’re not gonna talk about it.

“During the lockout when we were talking amongst ourselves just about how we were gonna spend the money we had available and who we were gonna go after on our team, we’ve talked to a few guys and there’s some guys we’re probably gonna talk to during the season,” Heckert said. “But we’re happy to have them. Obviously, we think they’re really good players and to keep them here is a great thing for us.”

We hate to think where the Browns offense would have been without Hillis last season, as he was 11th in the NFL in rushing yards (1,177), 18th in yards per attempt (4.4), tied for 6th with 11 rushing touchdowns and 15th in yards per game (73.6).

More importantly, he accounted for 71.5 percent of the Browns rushing yards and 84.6 percent of the team’s rushing touchdowns. If you factor in his 61 receptions for 477 yards and another two touchdowns, he was responsible for 34 percent of the team’s total offense and 50 percent of the offensive touchdowns.

But we think it’s smart for the team to take it a little slow when it comes to a new contract. Hillis is only two games into his second season as a team’s No. 1 running back, let’s give it a few more games to see what the Browns really have before committing money to him long term.

“The bottom line is it’s not up to me in the end,” Hillis told The Plain Dealer. “When people say they want to stop negotiating, that’s just because they want to play better and they don’t want the figure to hang over their heads. To me, if they want to come back and talk, I’m more than open. It’s just whenever. I keep that frame of mind and hope everything works out.”

We’re sure the team will get a deal done with Hillis and we’re just as sure he will be worth the money. There’s just no need to rush into anything.

“I think every case is different,” Heckert said. “When I was in Philadelphia, we did guys real early with years left on their contracts and all kinds of stuff. I think there’s different ways to do it. I wouldn’t say we’re gonna do it this way for every guy. I don’t think that’s the case. It’s just I think individually you just make a decision on who you’re gonna re-do and who you’re gonna try to and who you’re gonna wait till the end of the season and all that stuff.”

***

The schedule makers could be doing the Browns another favor this week as they host an 0-2 Dolphins team that is struggling under coach Tony Sparano.

In fact, Sparano finds himself on the “hot seat” already – and boy are we glad we don’t have to talk about that here in Cleveland for the time being.

Reportedly Miami owner Stephen Ross is running out of patience with Sparano, saying that “the team is not holding up its end of the bargain.”

Hopefully the Browns can do their part to keep the heat on Sparano come Sunday at Cleveland Browns Stadium.

***

We still don’t understand the allure of watching a game on tape delay, but Fox scored a winner on Sunday with the Manchester United vs. Chelsea game, drawing almost 2.5 million viewers.

The match generated a 1.0 household rating with 1.6 million viewers, while 456,000 watched the live broadcast of the game on FOX Soccer earlier that day, and 430,000 watched the game live on FOX Deportes.

Sunday’s Premier League match is second in total audience to this year’s live UEFA Champions League Final between FC Barcelona and Manchester United, which drew 4.2 million viewers combined between on FOX and FOX Deportes.

Whatever Fox is doing, we hope they keep it up.

(Photo by Getty Images)

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