- Adam Schefter, NFL
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The Browns have decided not to use their franchise tag on running back Peyton Hillis, according to a source familiar with the situation.
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.
But Hillis has felt defeated throughout his time in football, whether it was being benched at Arkansas in favor of Felix Jones and Darren McFadden, being traded by the Denver Broncos, or being unable to procure the long-term deal he desired in Cleveland.
It led him to tell Browns coaches that he didn't know whether he wanted to play football anymore.
Now Hillis is about to become a free agent and test his value on the open market.
Browns general manager Tom Heckert told ESPN's Josina Anderson on Wednesday that the team would like to keep Hillis if the contract is reasonable.
"If we can work something out with Peyton (Hillis) we will," Heckert told ESPN. "Did he have some rough patches during the season? Yes. Were there stretches where things were blown out of proportion? Yes. Honestly, I feel like a lot of that was blown up in the media.
"Now, of course things will still come down to the money, but we'll just have to wait and see."
Hillis and his agent, Kennard McGuire, have made the mutual decision to part ways. McGuire declined comment, and Hillis could not be reached for comment.
Adam Schefter is ESPN's NFL Insider.
3hDoug Clawson, ESPN Stats & Information