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Wednesday, April 27, 2011
Peyton Hillis wins 'Madden' tourney

By James Walker

Cleveland Browns fans have spoken.

After millions of votes over the past five weeks, Browns running back Peyton Hillis will grace the cover of the popular "Madden NFL 12" video game. Hillis, a No. 10 seed, capped his amazing run through the tournament by beating Philadelphia Eagles quarterback and No. 3 seed Michael Vick in the finals. It was the fifth time Hillis upset a higher seed.

After just one season, Hillis has quickly captured the hearts of Browns fans, who came out in droves to support the tailback. He was acquired last year in an offseason trade for another popular Cleveland player, quarterback Brady Quinn.

Hillis rushed for 1,177 yards and scored 13 total touchdowns in 2010 to become one of the few bright spot for the Browns, who were 5-11. Now Hillis will try to duplicate that success despite his newfound popularity and the history of the vaunted "Madden curse," which has impacted past players on the cover such as Troy Polamalu, Brett Favre and Vick.

"For people to believe in this so-called curse, I can't wait to prove people wrong," Hillis said on ESPN.com Wednesday. "From what I believe and where I am in my spiritual life, it would be good to prove them wrong in that sense."

To win the tournament, Hillis defeated Ray Rice of the Baltimore Ravens, Matt Ryan of the Atlanta Falcons, Jamaal Charles of the Kansas City Chiefs, Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers and Vick in the finals.