Former Cleveland Browns running back Peyton Hillis is talking about how he saved his family and survived a riptide.
To many fans of the Cleveland Browns, it’s rare to find a player that truly captures a moment. We have a few guys right now, your Nick Chubb and Myles Garrett types, that really encompass the moment. They’re generational talents who could and should be seen as the face of the franchise. But before them, the team only really had Joe Thomas. Thomas was the guy for so long and was the lone bright spot on a perpetually bad team. Then, one day, the Browns acquired fullback-turned-running back Peyton Hillis from the Denver Broncos and a sensation was born.
Hillis played for seven seasons in the NFL, but it was his first year in Cleveland that created a sensation. Biggert than any linebacker in the league, Hillis earned a lot of love during his first season in Cleveland for being this burly, unstoppable force. A mountain of a man who not only could run you over but leap over you as well.
He put on a Pro Bowl season but didn’t get selected. Instead, he landed on the cover of Madden 2012, which was decided by a fan vote. His career would never match those heights again, but it was one of those legendary seasons that will never be forgotten.
Despite that, it wouldn’t be on the football field where Hillis would show off his best moves, nor would the Madden cover be the greatest moment of his life.
In January of 2023, Hillis would make the news for saving the lives of his son, his sister, and her daughter, and in doing so nearly died. Hillis told the story to Michael Strahan on Good Morning America this week and recounted the terrifying details
"I think the scariest point to me was when I’m swimming to my son and I have to pass by him because my niece is in more danger. But I knew that I had to pass him up to get to Camille first because, you know, if I didn’t then there’s no way she would’ve made it."
Former Cleveland Browns running back Peyton Hillis will never be the same after the harrowing rescue
Hillis’ interview revealed that he suffered from lung and kidney failure, likely due to exhaustion, overexertion, and copious amounts of ingested salt water; though that’s speculation on our part. What we do know is that his body was so overtaxed, that he ended up being unresponsive upon returning to shore, and had to be taken to the nearest hospital by helicopter.
After 10 days, he finally woke up but the effects are far from over. Hillis told Straham that while he’s better, the doctors told him that it’d be a year before they knew if he’d fully recover from the physical trauma he incurred.
Not only that, but Hillis also said that there’s an expectation that his lungs will be forever limited due to the event.
Though, Hillis is still hopeful, revealing that he sees the world very differently now and that those closest to you should always be the priority in life.
While Hillis’ career didn’t end the way any of us wanted to, it’s important to remember that people are more than just their on-field careers. While Hillis wouldn’t say it in the interview, he was a true blue hero that day, and for most of us, that will be his true legacy.
- Published on 06/14/2023 at 21:58 PM
- Last updated at 06/14/2023 at 21:58 PM