If the Browns are going to re-sign running back Peyton Hillis, the deal will come with a new agent negotiating. Again.
Hillis is no longer represented by agent Kennard McGuire, according to multiple reports Wednesday. McGuire was Hillis’ third agent during the 2011 season. He is scheduled to become a free agent March 13.
The Browns could apply the franchise tag by Monday’s deadline, but they aren’t expected to use it on Hillis. The tag for a running back is expected to be worth $7.7 million for 2012. It guarantees a one-year contract.
General manager Tom Heckert, who missed the scouting combine after recent heart surgery, told ESPN’s Josina Anderson the team is open to bringing back Hillis. Some people expected the Browns to let Hillis walk away after he made more headlines off the field than on it in 2011.
“If we can work something out with Peyton, we will,” Heckert said. “Did he have some rough patches during the season? Yes. Were there stretches where things were blown out of proportion? Yes. Honestly, I feel like a lot of that was blown up in the media.
“Now, of course, things will still come down to the money, but we’ll just have to wait and see.”
Hillis missed five games with a hamstring injury, but the more controversial absence came in Week 3 when he sat out with strep throat. McGuire said he advised Hillis not to play.
Hillis also missed Tuesday rehab on his hamstring to get married in Arkansas, didn’t show up for a Halloween party for the Boys & Girls Club, was distracted by discussion of a contract extension and was pulled aside by teammates who wanted him to refocus.
Hillis finished with 587 rushing yards, a 3.6 average and three touchdowns. He burst onto the scene in 2010 with 1,177 rushing yards, a 4.4 average and 11 touchdowns.
“I really liked what I saw when he was in there playing healthy,” coach Pat Shurmur said last week.
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