Peyton Hillis works out for Bucs, but how interested are they?
One day before veterans arrive for training camp at One Buc Place, the Bucs are conducting a workout with former Browns and Chiefs running back Peyton Hillis, his agent said.
Hillis has major name recognition, once gracing the cover of Madden video games after his career-best 1,177-yard season in 2010, but he’s not been nearly as productive of late. Last season, Hillis had 309 rushing yards with the Chiefs, averaging a career-low 3.6 yards per carry. Thus, he's unsigned and is looking for another shot.
The Bucs, like all teams, work out free-agent players all the time. So, this isn’t unusual. The question, however, is whether the Bucs are just taking a look or whether this says something about the team’s comfort level with the running backs behind Doug Martin.
Outside of veteran third-down back Brian Leonard, the Bucs have nothing but inexperience in their offensive backfield.
Second-year player Michael Smith, who had no carries last season, and rookie Mike James, are expected to battle for the traditional backup running back job behind Martin. It’s obvious why the team might have concerns about that lineup. The Bucs want to be a run-first team, but that’s hard to do if your No. 1 running back goes down and his replacements are getting on-the-job training.
So, getting back to Hillis, is he someone who the Bucs see as a possible addition right now? He actually could be a nice short-yardage option when you think about it. Or are they merely collecting information on him in case the need for a running back arises later?
That’s what we’re waiting to find out. The answer will likely come when and if Hillis signs a contract after his workout today. That, as much as anything, will tell us how the Bucs feel about their running back situation.