With starter David Wilson ruled out for Monday night’s clash with the Vikings and rookie Michael Cox not ready for primetime just yet, the Giants reached into the free agent pool this week to see what they could find in terms of halfback talent.
On Wednesday they emerged with former Cleveland Browns star Peyton Hillis. The 27-year-old ran for 1,177 yards on 270 in his breakout 2010 season, but has only gained 896 yards on the ground in the two seasons since then.
Now a member of the Giants, Hillis has a chance to reinvigorate his career.
“I’m coming in with an open heart and open mind,” said Hillis, “and I’m looking to do whatever the coaching staff needs me to do to help this team win.”
Although Hillis played in the preseason with Tampa Bay, he was cut by the Bucs on September 21 after failing to play in a single regular season game. After working as the full-time halfback in Cleveland, Hillis has been stuck behind more talented players in his recent career.
“I firmly believe I never had too much of an opportunity after I left Cleveland,” Hillis said. “I was behind Jamaal Charles at Kansas City. I didn’t get too much playing time. I felt when I got in I did well, and then I was in Tampa and never really got to touch the field because of Doug Martin. He’s pretty good. I’m just here to do whatever I can to help the team win. I think that this is a good team that can turn it around.”
The Giants don’t have a player like Charles or Martin to hide Hillis behind, but Brandon Jacobs is still the likely starter on Monday versus the Vikings. Hillis will need some time to acclimate himself and learn the playbook. With opportunity knocking, that process shouldn’t take long for the veteran.
“From what I understand, a lot of the terminology is the same as it was in Tampa, and so it may be a quick process,” said Hillis regarding New York’s playbook, “Maybe, maybe not. We’ll see.”