Hillis' impending signing had been earlier reported by Fox Sports.
Hillis rushed for 1,117 yards and 11 touchdowns for the Cleveland Browns in 2010 and famously was selected by fans to appear on the Madden video game cover the following year. But injuries limited him to 10 games and just 587 yards that season, and he was out of the league in 2013 after being released by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the preseason after an uneventful 2012 season as a member of the Kansas City Chiefs.
David Wilson, the Giants' starting running back, is out for at least a few more weeks due to a neck injury. Brandon Jacobs, who filled in as the starter last Thursday and rushed for 106 yards in a loss to Chicago, is nursing a hamstring injury. Andre Brown, who was originally supposed to team with Wilson in the backfield this year, broke his leg in the preseason and isn't eligible to return to game action until Week 10. Da'Rel Scott, who also injured his hamstring in Thursday's loss, was released Tuesday to make room for Hillis on the active roster.
If Jacobs is healthy for Monday night's game against Minnesota, he's likely to get the bulk of the carries. And even if he's not, rookie Michael Cox could conceivably be ahead of newcomer Hillis for carries in the Giants' backfield.
Hillis was part of a tryout Tuesday that also included former Giants D.J. Ware and Ryan Torain because the team needed another body at the position. But if Hillis shows something, he could find an opportunity with the Giants, who have incorporated Jacobs, fullback John Conner and linebacker Jon Beason into their starting lineup already this year even though none of them were with the team in Week 1.
The Giants are 0-6 and searching for answers, and anyone who shows he can help will get a chance.
The team also will sign rookie running back Jeremy Wright to the practice squad. Wright is an undrafted rookie who was in minicamp with the Giants briefly before being cut. He spent some time in training camp with Pittsburgh, as well. The Giants made room on their practice squad Tuesday by releasing linebacker Darin Drakeford.