Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Peyton Hillis' preseason got off to a rough start Thursday night, when he left the preseason opener against the Baltimore Ravens with an injury. Hillis suffered a hyperextended left knee, according to NFL.com's Ian Rapoport.
Hillis took a hit to the knee during the third quarter on his fourth carry of the game. He limped off the field and didn't return to action, causing immediate concern for a player trying to rebuild his NFL career. The Bucs signed Hillis in the offseason to provide depth behind Doug Martin, and if he can return to his 2010 form, the 27-year-old should be able to make an impact with Tampa Bay. But Thursday's injury isn't a good omen.
Hillis had a breakout season with the Cleveland Browns in 2010, playing in all 16 games and rushing 270 times for 1,177 yards and 11 touchdowns. Those numbers fell off the next season when he played in just 10 games and picked up 587 yards and three scores on 161 carries.
The Kansas City Chiefs signed Hillis to a one-year, $3 million contract before the 2012 season, hoping he'd recreate his 2010 production. Instead, he ran just 85 times for 309 yards and one TD in 13 games.