Former Arkansas Razorback and Cleveland Browns star Peyton Hillis was reportedly hospitalized after going through one of the very worst experiences any parent could imagine.
Hillis, 36, was hospitalized after an incident in which he had to save his kids from drowning, according to TMZ.
KNWA-TV reporter Alyssa Orange shared a Facebook post from Hillis' uncle:
— Alyssa Orange (@AlyssaOrange) January 6, 2023
"I just wanted everyone to know on Razorback Nation that Peyton is doing better," Greg Hillis' Facebook post begins. "He is still in intensive care and having some problems with his kidney and his lungs but the doctors say he is improving.
"I just wanted to head off any rumors that may be started. I'm sure he would want everyone to know that he appreciates all of the prayers being thrown up on his behalf!"
Orange then followed up with a tweet confirming that Hillis had a "swimming accident" in Pensacola, Florida. She also noted that he was helicoptered to the hospital and remained unconscious in the ICU.
"Family asks to please pray for him and a speedy recovery," Orange added.
TMZ reported that Hillis' children are fine.
Hillis was a relatively unheralded fullback/running back hybrid at Arkansas. In fact, in each of his final three seasons as a Razorback, Hillis actually finished with more receiving yards than rushing yards, a rarity for any running back.
In fairness to Hillis, he shared a deep backfield with Darren McFadden and Felix Jones, both of whom would go on to have productive NFL careers.
A running back who was a better receiver than a rusher must not have impressed NFL scouts, because Hillis plummeted to the 7th round of the draft when the Denver Broncos scooped him up.
While Hillis showed brief flashes in Denver, he didn't really come into his own until he was traded to the Browns after two years as a Bronco.
In his first season with the Browns, Hillis notched 1,177 rushing yards (more than he had his entire collegiate career) and 477 receiving yards, along with 13 total touchdowns.
While Hillis was never quite able to replicate the success he had in his first year in Cleveland, largely due to injury, he still went on to tally 717 total scrimmage yards in 2011.
More importantly, on the back of his two productive seasons in Cleveland, Hillis secured the fan vote to become the cover athlete of the Madden NFL 12 video game.
It was actually mildly controversial that Hillis made the cover, given that Madden cover athletes are typically Hall of Fame-type players such as Tom Brady and Ray Lewis.
Hillis may never make the Hall of Fame, but the man is bigger than that: He's a hero who saved his children.
That's more important than any plaque or bust in Canton, Ohio.
Here's to a speedy and full recovery for Peyton Hillis.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.