Peyton Hillis is fresh off the first 100-yard rushing performance of his NFL career. When asked if he envisioned this happening back during training camp, Hillis said he has always set high goals for himself.
“It was just to get out there and be on the team and try to get a starting spot somewhere, no matter where it was,” Hillis said about his mindset during camp. “I always try to set my expectations kind of high, and I have to say it has exceeded my expectations.”
Hillis has been a versatile offensive weapon throughout his football career. At Arkansas, Hillis totaled 2,624 career all-purpose yards and 23 touchdowns playing fullback, running back, wide receiver and on special teams.
Hillis remembered back to training camp when he was the second-string fullback and way down the list at running back.
“I wasn’t in the top 10,” Hillis said. “But things happened and they need you to step up and play different positions – that’s what it takes to be a profession. That’s what I’ve done.”
Head Coach Mike Shanahan said that Hillis can continue to be utilized at multiple positions even at the professional level.
“He has proven that he can play tailback and fullback,” Shanahan said. “He is better with the ball in his hands at the tailback position running the football or catching the pass out of the backfield. He is going to get a chance to play more tailback because of what he has done and how he can break tackles. He also can play the fullback position which really gives us a lot of flexibility. I’m not sure, eventually, if he can’t go out there and be a “tiger” or a tight end-type guy with that size. We could either line him up as a fullback or on the line of scrimmage.”
Hillis, a humble guy to begin with, said he hasn’t slowed down to relish in his recent successes, instead he is constantly working, trying to do whatever he can to improve his play, which will in turn help the Broncos get better.
“I really haven’t let myself enjoy it at all,” he said. “It seems like once the game is over I’m ready to study the playbook for next week. My parents, my fiancé, everybody is telling me to chill out, take a day off, but that’s just not me. I can take a day off when the season’s over with and after we win the Super Bowl.”
The 6-foot-1, 250-pound fullback-turned-running back said he is gracious for the opportunity to play.
“My coaches have put me in the right spot here so far and helped me succeed,” he said. “If they feel that the best interest is for me to go somewhere else, no matter where that may be, then I’ll be more than happy to go. Everybody likes touching the ball. Everybody likes running the ball – getting yards, making touchdowns. As long as you’re on an NFL team playing, I don’t see a better dream than that.”
-Jake Grilley, DenverBroncos.com
Here are photos from today’s practice.