Red Zone

Chiefs’ Hillis shakes off critical comments from former Browns teammate

Chiefs running back Peyton Hillis defended himself Thursday after he was criticized by Cleveland tackle Joe Thomas for his actions last season when he played with the Browns.

“It’s kind of like a crazy ex-girlfriend,” Hillis said of Thomas. “It’s been over a year. Get over it. I guess when you get paid over $100 million dollars by one team, it’s kind of easy to point the finger at other guys and try to hate on them for trying to get another contract.”

The Chiefs play against the Browns on Sunday in Cleveland.

Hillis was in the last season of his contract last year with the Browns. After having a big season in 2010, Hillis gained just 587 yards last year and missed six games with injuries.

Thomas suggested in his comments that Hillis wasn’t really injured at all but just angling for a new contract.

“You think strep throat and I don’t know whatever else injuries he had should keep you out of an NFL game? Or several?” Thomas told reporters in Cleveland. “All I know is (center) Alex Mack had appendicitis. His appendix blew up and he played.

“(Hillis) decided that his contract was more important than coming out and playing and helping his team win, and it left us without a running back.”

The Chiefs signed Hillis to a one-year contract in March. Thomas said the Browns were happy to see him leave.

“I think it was better for both sides,” Thomas said. “At that point, the situation with him here was toxic. He didn’t want to be here, and players didn’t want him here, and it’s better just for a fresh start at that point.”

Hills said he wouldn’t change how he did anything last year.

“I don’t have any bitterness or resentment or regrets,” he said. “I did what I did. There are always regrets in every process or things you wish you had done better. Now is now. I’ve got to do the best I can for me now.

“I’m not talking about anybody. I’m trying to go about my life like everybody else. I’m trying to play and I’m trying to make a living.”

On the field, Hillis has had a disappointing season. He missed three games because of a high ankle sprain and is third on the Chiefs with 193 rushing yards.

Coach Romeo Crennel said the Chiefs haven’t had a problem with Hillis.

“He’s been good ever since he’s been here,” Crennel said. “I have no problems with him. He does everything I ask him to do. He’s been productive on the field other than the times he’s been injured, when we didn’t have him on the field.”

Leon Williams returns

The Chiefs re-signed linebacker Leon Williams, who was released at the end of training camp, and placed defensive lineman Allen Bailey on the injured-reserve list, ending his season. Bailey injured his ankle in last week’s win over Carolina.

“It looks like it’s going to be about four weeks (before Bailey would be ready to play),” Crennel said. “Leon knows the system. We know him and so it was a move we needed to make.”

Injury report

Safety Eric Berry, who was already on the report with an injured hand, left practice early because of illness. The other change is that guard Jeff Allen, who didn’t practice Wednesday because of illness, returned as a full participant.

Otherwise, the playing status remained unclear for six starters and one reserve. The starters who did not practice: cornerback Brandon Flowers (hamstring), linebacker Derrick Johnson (hamstring) and center Ryan Lilja (knee). The starters who were listed as limited in practice: tackle Branden Albert (back), linebacker Tamba Hali (knee) and safety Kendrick Lewis (shoulder).

The injured reserve is safety Abe Elam (quad), who did not practice.

“Other than that,” Crennel said, “we’re trying to get ready for the Cleveland Browns.”