Already coping with the bad karma of playing for a pro sports team in Cleveland, Peyton Hillis says he's not worried about becoming the next in a long line of jinxed athletes.
The 25-year-old Browns running back graces the box art of Madden 12, but shrugged off talk that previous cover athletes have been cursed by the honor.
"I really don't care what people think," Hillis told The Associated Press, referring to the curse and his doubters in general. "I'm a guy who is going to go out there and do his best, and I'm a guy who has always gone out there and proved people wrong. I'm not worried about it and I've never been worried about a curse."
Whether or not you buy into the notion of a hex, there's no denying the uncanny trend of athletes suffering disappointing seasons after being featured on the Madden cover, either due to injury or decreased production. The curse has had long-term implications as well, including Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick's jail sentence for his role in a dogfighting ring, as well as retired QB Brett Favre's embarrassing sexting scandal.
Hillis beat out Vick in a nationwide vote of more than 16 million fans to earn the honor this year. Vick, meanwhile, can at least take solace in the six-year, $100 million contract he agreed to with the Eagles Monday.
The Browns running back handed out advance copies of the latest Madden to his coaches and teammates during Sunday's practice, where Hillis admitted he's not exactly a hardcore gamer.
"I was never a very big video guy, but it's kind of cool," he said. "I wouldn't say it's one of my hobbies, no."
It may seem unfair that the Browns, a couple of whom voiced lackluster attitudes toward videogames, got their hands on Madden 12 two days before everyone else. Given last year's 5-11 record, however, it's probably the only chance they'll get this season to brag about being first.
Source: The Associated Press