On Wednesday, Cleveland Browns All-Pro left tackle Joe Thomas unleashed on running back Peyton Hillis, who will be back in Cleveland this Sunday as a member of the Kansas City Chiefs. Thomas, a definite leader in the locker room, chastised Hillis for how he conducted himself last year.
On Thursday, Hillis responded. According to Tom Withers of the Associated Press, Hillis "likened the Pro Bowl tackle to 'your crazy ex-girlfriend.'" Those sound like fightin' words.
I know a player typically shouldn't be expected to take criticism without receiving the opportunity to deliver a jab of their own, but in this case, the best response for Hillis would have been something like, "There were some unfortunate circumstances with how things ended in Cleveland, but I've moved on to doing all I can for the Chiefs." Instead, he, in essence, proved the point Thomas was trying to make: Hillis never listened to the guidance players were trying to give him. It cost him in Cleveland, and when you think about it, it might have cost him in his original stay in Denver. If he's not careful, it'll cost him in Kansas City too.
Sifting through some reactions on Twitter right now, I liked this reaction from Aaron Goldhammer of ESPN 850:
"Peyton Hillis is the only person on planet earth that would compare Joe Thomas (pro bowler, consummate pro, never missed a snap) to an ex-GF."
Bingo. Is the fire inside of you building up, Browns fans? In a matter of two days, I've gone from wanting Hillis to still perform well against opponents besides the Browns, to wanting every Cleveland defender to chop him down like the soft player he's become. With all 53 members of the Browns' roster practicing this week and free of injuries, they can make it happen.
UPDATE: The full quotes of what Hillis said about Thomas and the Browns were made available by Bob Gretz of BobGretz.com.
Saying he hadn’t read the comments, Hillis seemed to know plenty about them as he spoke with the Kansas City media after practice on Thursday.
“Joe Thomas can have his opinions all he wants,” Hillis said. “He’s kind of like a crazy ex-girl friend; it’s been over a year, get over it. When you get paid over $100 million from one team it’s kind of easy to hate on other guys to get another contract … I’ve gone on with my life.”
Hillis also added that he doesn't hold any regrets about his time in Cleveland, and that he enjoyed the atmosphere and the fans. He might be in for a rude awakening with the reaction he'll be facing from the city come Sunday.
“Not really; I don’t have any bitterness, resentment or regrets,” said Hillis. “I did what I did. There are always things you wish that you can do better, but now is now and I’ve got to do what is best for me now. I look forward to going back there. It’s a great atmosphere and I really enjoyed the fans there.”