Nick Wass, Associated Press
Cleveland Browns running back Peyton Hillis (40) leaps over Baltimore Ravens strong safety Bernard Pollard, bottom, in the second half of an NFL football game in Baltimore, Saturday, Dec. 24, 2011. Baltimore won 20-14.

BEREA, Ohio — It took controversy, drama, sickness and a nagging injury to convince Peyton Hillis there's something to curses.

Cleveland's battering back didn't want to buy into the notion that players who appear on the cover of the popular "Madden" video game wind up jinxed. But after his turbulent second season with the Browns, Hillis said: "There's a few things that happened that made me believe in curses."

Hillis missed five straight games with a hamstring injury, but he's finally healthy and has put together back-to-back impressive performances heading into Sunday's game against Pittsburgh — perhaps his final game for the Browns. He's a free agent but wants to stay in Cleveland so he can prove his 1,177-yard season in 2010 wasn't a "one-hit wonder."