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Peyton Hillis And His Struggles A Sign Of The 'Madden Curse'?

Peyton Hillis has not had the best of seasons through six weeks of NFL action. He's yet to have a 100-yard rushing game, his closest being a 94-yard effort in week two against the struggling Indianapolis Colts. That 94 yardage total is 37 yards more than his second-highest total of 57 yards. The offense doesn't seem to run through him anymore, and he missed a game after being diagnosed with strep throat, though some believe he was strong-arming the Cleveland Browns regarding contract negotiations. And now, to top it all off, he's set to get an MRI on Monday to see whether or not he's going to need to miss more action, after rushing just one time against the Oakland Raiders on Sunday.

Injuries, contract troubles and an altogether lack of production combine for an extremely rough start for Hillis, so what's the explanation? One Cleveland writer has a culprit: EA's Madden NFL 12.

The "Madden Curse", as it's known, is something that's been discussed for years now. Each year, the popular football game features an athlete on its cover, and it seems like each season following, that player either gets hurt or struggles to put up numbers effectively. Starting with Eddie George on the 2001 cover, it hasn't yet failed to "seemingly" affect a player having appeared on its cover. You can find a list of "happenings" here.

Hillis won a fan vote to appear on the game's cover for the 2011-2012 installment of the game ... so is it the Madden curse, folks? Even if Hillis recovers and puts together a respectable season, there are those who'd argue that it's struck again, regardless. I suppose we'll see after the MRI results come back.

Photographs by spatulated, Triple Tri, and chrischappelear used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.