Fearing Peyton Hillis was weakened from strep throat and could risk injury, his agent advised the Browns' bruising back not to play on Sept. 25 against Miami.
Hillis left Browns Stadium about two hours before kickoff, a decision that has led to speculation he was upset over ongoing negotiations with the club on a contract extension.
However, agent Kennard McGuire told The Associated Press that Hillis was too sick to play, and that he could have jeopardized his career if he played at less than 100 percent.
"I would give him the same advice to him or any of my clients as if he were my son," McGuire said in a phone interview. "The game is physical enough, and the way Peyton plays the game, he needs all the elements of his physical game. Him being sick, and the level of his sickness, is the equivalent of being injured.
"Not only could he have hurt himself but he could have hurt his team. Nobody embodies Cleveland like Peyton Hillis. If anyone wants to point a finger, point it at me."