The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are ending the Peyton Hills experiment, as CBS Sports’s Jason La Canfora reports that the Buccaneers have decided to release Hillis today. The 27-year-old former Madden cover athlete was listed on the depth chart as the team’s No. 4 running back, as he couldn’t even make it ahead of Brian Leonard on the roster, let alone Rutgers rookie Mike James. Thus, Peyton Hills was a healthy inactive for both of the Buccaneers regular season games, and the fact that he wasn’t able to move into the “top three” or show any progress spelled his fate in Tampa Bay.
Hillis was never really expected to do much in Tampa, but he was an interesting reclamation project given his past success with the Cleveland Browns. One thing that I’ve always liked about Peyton Hillis that sometimes goes underrated is his ability to catch the football out of the backfield, because he caught 61 passes for 477 yards in his career year of 2010. Hillis is- or was- actually a good all-around back, and he wasn’t just a bruising rusher as a 6’2″, 250 pound FB; he offered more than that for the Browns.
But for the Bucs, Hillis offered nothing, and they seem more than happy with what they have right now. Doug Martin is unquestionably the workhorse back and might be the best all-around back in the game, while Mike James is somebody this team has to be high on after trading up with the seventh-round pick they acquired from the New England Patriots in the LeGarrette Blount-Jeff Demps swap in order to draft James in the sixth. James is Greg Schiano’s guy from Rutgers, and he definitely outplayed Hillis in the preseason.
At this stage, it is fair to wonder if Hillis’s career is over, and the Buccaneers were likely a last-ditch hope at revitalizing the former 1,000-yard rusher’s career.