Today, the New York Giants released Madden 12 cover athlete—good job, fans—and running back Peyton Hillis. Did you even know Hillis was still in the league? A better question: Do you remember when a rumor came out in March 2012 that Hillis, at that time a free agent, was considering retirement so he could join the CIA?

This isn't a joke. Hillis had finished two seasons with the Browns, and Cleveland had no interest in resigning the running back. While teams were trying to figure out the market price for a fullback playing as a halfback with one solid season, Adam Schefter reported a weird piece of news: Hillis had thought about walking away from football to join the CIA.

From Schefter's story:

Throughout the past season, Hillis has wavered about whether he wants to continue playing football, and even considered joining the CIA, according to team sources.

It is unclear if he actually pursued a career with the CIA.

Hillis told Browns coaches as recently as the end of the season that he was contemplating retirement, though it now looks as if he will continue playing, the sources said.

Advertisement

Then-head coach Pat Shurmur had no clue what Schefter was talking about (but did Pat Shurmur ever have a clue?) and Hillis quickly denied the claim. "It makes me sound insane," he said, calling the story "100 percent false."

Schefter defended his sources, and the story faded away. Hillis signed with the Chiefs as backup to Jamaal Charles, then bounced to the Bucs, and finally the Giants, until today. The 29-year-old's career isn't necessarily over, but his best days are likely behind him.

Advertisement

Hillis will always have that story, though. It was one of the weirdest efforts at smearing a free agent to lower his value.

Photo: AP