TAMPA, Fla. -- Former 1,000-yard rusher Peyton Hillis is hoping a change of scenery will help him get a once-promising NFL career back on track. The sixth-year pro signed a one-year contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers last month and is competing for a job to play behind Pro Bowl running back Doug Martin. Hillis rushed for nearly 1,200 yards and scored 13 touchdowns for Cleveland in 2010, however he hasnt been nearly as productive over the past two seasons with the Browns and Kansas City Chiefs. Martin ran for more than 1,400 yards as a rookie in 2012, but the Bucs dont have an established backup. They are giving Hillis, another veteran Brian Leonard and rookie Mike James a chance to earn the role. "Im here, trying to do the best that I can," Hillis said. "Ive been humbled over the past couple of years, and Im just happy to be in a place they want me to be and a place where I can try to produce again." Hillis entered the NFL as a seventh-round draft pick in 2008 and started eight games in two seasons with the Denver Broncos. He moved to Cleveland three years old ago and flourished in a featured role with the Browns, rushing for 1,177 yards and catching 61 passes for another 477 yards. The 6-foot-2, 250-pound running back became a fan favourite during his breakout season and was selected to appear on the cover of the next years Madden video game. His career has been in decline ever since. Injuries have been a factor. And at least one former teammate, Cleveland offensive tackle Joe Thomas, was quoted last season as saying Hillis performance with the Browns slipped after the running back -- eager to capitalize on his success from the previous year -- put his desire for a new contract before the team. Hillis said his focus is on the future, trying to earn a job with the Bucs -- not what happened in Cleveland in 2011 or last year in Kansas City, where the 27-year-old played behind three-time 1,000-yard rusher Jamaal Charles and averaged a career-low 3.6 yards per carry while running for 309 yards and one TD. "Some things in life theres no rhyme or reason. I just try to take one step at a time and try to re-evaluate the situation," Hillis said. "I cant go back to my past and change things. I can only move forward. Thats what Im going to do." Hillis is listed behind Martin, Leonard and James,, a sixth-round draft pick, on the depth chart for Thursdays preseason opener against Baltimore. Coach Greg Schiano and general manager Mark Dominik were drawn to the running backs size, as well as the success he enjoyed with Cleveland. Hillis started 23 games over two seasons with the Browns, rushing for 1,764 yards and scoring 16 touchdowns -- 14 of them on the ground. "I liked the way he played, and so did Mark. We felt like he was a good fit for us right now with our running back and fullback situation. Hes a guy who brings some versatility to the position. He can be the ball carrier, I think he can block. Hes a bigger back," Schiano said. If he makes the team, Hillis could wind up playing a role similar to one filled a year ago by another former 1,000-yard rusher, LeGarrette Blount, who carried 41 times for 151 yards as Martins backup. Blount was traded to New England this spring, leaving the Bucs in the market for a big back such as Hillis, and even the 225-pound Leonard, who signed with Tampa Bay as a free agent after spending the past four seasons with the Cincinnati Bengals. "Hes done it in this league, and I think we needed to create quality depth," Schiano said. "We have our guy in Doug, but we need to create quality depth and we need to create competition as well." Hillis, whos still learning the playbook, is excited about the opportunity. "Im out here learning a little bit of everything -- tailback, fullback ... a little bit of everything," he said. "Hopefully I will be able to establish myself and help this team win." Wholesale NFL Jerseys
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. The trip couldnt come at a better time, as its homecourt that proving a disadvantage to Toronto this season. Kemba Walker hit a buzzer-beating jump shot in overtime to lift the Charlotte Bobcats to a 104-102 overtime victory Wednesday, handing the Raptors their eighth loss at home this season. LANGLEY, B.C. -- Dan Dawson had a big cut over his forehead as a result of a cheap shot Monday night, but he was feeling no pain -- or anger. Instead, the Brampton captain was ecstatic after the Excelsiors claimed the Mann Cup with a 6-3 victory over the Langley Thunder. "This cut is nothing, man," Dawson said. "Were sitting on the cup. Thats our redemption." Jarrett Davis scored three goals and added an assist as Brampton took the best-of-seven series 4-1 and captured its third Canadian senior lacrosse crown in the past four years. The Excelsiors last triumphed in nearby New Westminster, B.C. in 2009. But this Brampton squad was much different than that one after about half the roster was replaced. The Excelsiors, a perennial powerhouse in previous years, triumphed despite a third-place finish in the Ontario Major Series Lacrosse regular season. That was another reason why Dawson, who recorded three assists and finished as the series leading scorer with 14 points in four games played, was jubilant. "This one is real special, because not a lot of people gave us a chance, even coming out of the East and then coming out here," said Dawson, 29, who won his fifth Mann Cup. Daviss second goal, at 7:32 of the second period, stood as the winner. In the 2009 series, Brampton needed seven games -- and an overtime session -- to eliminate a never-say-die New Westminster Salmonbellies squad. It looked like the Excelsiors would again have their work cut out for them in this series after they suffered an embarrassing 11-3 loss in Game 1. But the Thunder, a former doormat that represented the West for the first time, could not regain its offensive magic in the remaining games. "They know exactly what it takes to get over the top and we just couldnt quite get there," said Langley coach Rod Jensen, whose club lost a pair of one-goal games. Zack Greer also had a strong game for the Excelsiors with a goal and three assists, while Kevin Ross and Frank Resetarits also scored for Brampton. Matt Leveque, Alex Turner and Kyle Belton replied for the Thunder. The Excelsiors outshot Langley 43-34. Brampton goaltender Anthony Cosmo recorded 31 saves for the win and was named as the most valuable player of the series for the third time in his career. He went unbeaten in thee four games in which he played after missing the series-opening blowout because of teaching commitments.dddddddddddd "To have the story that we wrote this year is awesome," said Cosmo, who posted a 4.54 goals-against-average en route to his fourth Mann Cup. "These guys have battled through so much adversity, so many people putting us down because we lost so many big names. But our young guys, people who you want to call no-namers, they sure have a name now." Langley counterpart Brodie MacDonald blocked 37 shots. Brampton was blanked on one power-play opportunity while Langley converted one of four. The Excelsiors led 3-0 after the first period and 4-3 after the second. At 14:56 of the first period, Langley attempted to get Cosmo ejected on an illegal equipment call, alleging his leg pads were too wide. The goaltender, a referee and the clubs captains went to Bramptons dressing room for a brief measurement, but Cosmo passed the test and remained in the game. "Its all part of the game," Cosmo said. "For them, when youre down and youre desperate, you do whatever it takes to win. I made sure I was clean." Greers goal and first two assists staked Brampton to a 3-0 first-period lead as the Excelsiors outshot the Thunder 19-9. But Leveque put Langley on the scoreboard 55 seconds into the second period. Then Turner and Belton, the latter on a power play, scored 20 seconds apart to tie the game 3-3 by the 4:37 mark. Davis scored his second goal of the night three minutes later to give the Excelsiors the lead for good. Brampton briefly lost Dawson with 6:30 gone in the third period after Langleys Rob Van Beek elbowed his head into the glass. No penalty was called. The incident occurred moments after Langley captain Leveque nailed Dawson well behind the play as he was heading to the bench on a line change. Leveque received an interference penalty. The Excelsiors couldnt score on the power play, but Davis completed his hat-trick about three and a half minutes later to increase their lead to 5-3 and erase any further doubt about the outcome. After celebrating, Dawson planned to get his cut forehead stitched up. "Ive got a modelling career to worry about after I end up playing," quipped Dawson, who is actually a Brampton firefighter. ' ' '