On Wednesday, Thomas, a Pro Bowl left tackle for Cleveland, was critical of the way Hillis behaved last season as a member of the Browns.
“It was a terrible distraction,” Thomas said of Hillis’ attitude last season. “He crippled our offense. We were struggling to find anybody who could carry the ball after all the injuries we had. To have Peyton going through a contract dispute and basically refusing to play, it was a big distraction. But more than anything, he was our starting running back that was a good player who was going to help us be a successful offense.
“When he’s not there and you don’t have anybody to turn to, it makes it hard to win. And that’s the distraction, it’s not being successful.”
Hillis was such a distraction his behavior led his Browns teammates to reportedly hold an intervention last year.
On Thursday, Hillis, now with Kansas City, responded to Thomas’ comments.
“Joe Thomas, he can have his opinions all he wants,” Hillis said via the Associated Press. “It’s kind of like a crazy ex-girlfriend, you know? It’s been over a year. Get over it. But I don’t know. I guess when you get paid over $100 million by one team, it’s kind of easy to point the finger at another guy and hate on him for trying to get another contract.”
Hillis said he’s just trying to move on and that he doesn’t have regrets.
Thomas said Hillis created a “toxic” environment last season. He described Hillis as being a great teammate when he became a breakout star in 2010, but the exact opposite last year.
Hillis likely has learned his lesson, but it’s really sad it took all that for him to realize his mistakes. He also shouldn’t have called Thomas a name for pointing out the truth. He should have just admitted he was wrong.