YING AND YANG
The Broncos’ Peyton Hillis and the Raiders’ Darren McFadden know a thing or two about one another. In high school Hillis was Arkansas’ leading rusher his senior season, McFadden was second to Hillis that same season as a junior. Hillis went onto the University of Arkansas where he played fullback and helped pave the way for McFadden for three seasons.
Last season Hillis finished with 886 all-purpose yards and blocked for Heisman Trophy runner-up McFadden, who ranked fourth in the nation in rushing with 1,830 yards.
The two college teammates both should see time at running back as their two NFL teams go at it this weekend at INVESCO Field at Mile High.
Though the two players admitted they haven’t been able to keep in touch as much as they would have liked so far this season they know one another well enough that they can paint a pretty accurate picture of what the other guy is up to.
“I imagine (Hillis) would have a button up shirt on with the top three buttons not buttoned,” McFadden said. “With his chest hanging out, his neck showing and some cowboy boots — he is always in some type of cowboy boot.”
Hillis laughed when he heard McFadden’s description of himself but admitted he wasn’t too far from the truth.
“That is pretty accurate,” Hillis said. “I can’t disagree with that. He knows me just as well as anybody.”
When asked what McFadden was wearing Hillis didn’t pull any punches.
“He would be in some FUBU jeans, OshKosh B’Gosh and some braids – that is how he would be dressed,” Hillis said. “I am just trying to get back at him for what he said about me. That was just not right.”
The two rushers might not have a whole lot in common in terms of fashion statements, however, the two seemingly different personalities meshed well with one another and they were able to develop a strong friendship.
“We are both people,” he said. “No matter where you grow up everybody wants to be respected the same and treated the same. No matter the color, the gender, everybody wants to be treated the same. I mean that is how God would want it. There are a lot of people with different backgrounds expecting things out of different people but I am not like that. I like people for who they are and for what they can teach me and what I can teach them. That is what it is all about.”
The two will have to set their friendship aside for 60 minutes on Sunday for one of the NFL’s most bitter rivalry games. Hillis also said he is looking forward to the opportunity of trying to outrush his college teammate.
“It would be an accomplishment,” he said. “You can’t lie about that, but you also want him to do well. Now that you are on different teams you want to win no matter what the obstacles are. You are going to go out there and treat him well because he is your friend, but you are also going to go out there and try to win the game.”
For Broncos fans wondering if Champ Bailey could be back on the field this weekend against the Raiders Head Coach Mike Shanahan said it is still a wait and see type of situation.
“Pretty much the same thing as last week,” Shanahan said about Bailey’s status. “He started loosening up and doing some drills. He was limited at practice. He is really a day-by-day scenario. We will see how he feels at the end of the week and make a decision right before the game.”
Marlon McCree, Nate Webster and D.J. Williams all are out for this weekend’s game. Selvin Young was suited up but did not participate.
-Jake Grilley, DenverBroncos.com
Here are some photos from today’s practice.