FAYETTEVILLE – Former Razorback and current Cleveland Browns running back Peyton Hillis has been selected as the cover athlete for Madden NFL 12, it was revealed Wednesday. Hillis beat out Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick in the final by earning 66 percent of the fan vote.
Hillis was announced as the winner of the fan vote on "SportsNation" on ESPN2. In all, almost 13 million votes were cast during the bracket-style voting tournament that featured one representative from each NFL team, including more than 1 million in the final. This is the first year fans were allowed to vote for the game’s cover.
Hillis was a 10 seed on one side of the bracket and defeated higher-ranked foes throughout the process. He began by knocking off seventh-seeded Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice, then two-seed Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan and six-seed Kansas City Chiefs running back Jamal Charles before taking down top-seeded Aaron Rogers, quarterback of the Super Bowl XLV champion Green Bay Packers, to advance to the final.
In 2010, Hillis rushed for 1,177 yards and 11 touchdowns to become the first Browns running back to top 1,000 yards in a season since 2008. The Conway, Ark., native was spent the first two years of his NFL career with the Denver Broncos after being selected in the seventh round of the 2008 NFL Draft.
Hillis lettered at Arkansas from 2004-07 and was part of one of the most dynamic backfields in the country. In 2006, he helped the Razorbacks to an SEC Western Division crown and a berth in the Capital One Bowl. Hillis finished his UA career with 2,624 all-purpose yards, including 1,195 receiving yards and 959 rushing yards, with 23 touchdowns.