Ex-NFL player recovers after saving his kids from drowning

PENSACOLA, Fla. (AP) — A former NFL running back said he’s on the road to recovery after he nearly died while saving his two children from drowning in the Gulf of Mexico in the Florida Panhandle.

Peyton Hillis issued a statement on Twitter, thanking those who helped him following the Jan. 4 incident on Pensacola Beach. He was initially on a ventilator, but was released from the hospital in mid-January.

“I just wanted to come on here and thank everyone for all the prayers and love y’all have given me,” Hillis wrote. “It’s really made all the difference.”

Hillis, 37, said he hasn’t done any interviews because it was a “very traumatic time” and he wanted to keep his family out of the public eye.

“But I did want to come on here and show my appreciation for everyone who helped save my life and for all of your prayers and love and support. I left the hospital with no worries and concerns and should make a 100% recovery. I’m a very lucky and blessed man,” Hillis wrote.

Hillis was drafted by the Denver Broncos in 2008 and also played with the Cleveland Browns, Kansas City Chiefs, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and New York Giants. He retired in 2015.

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