Peyton Hillis off ventilator, 'ways ahead of him,' girlfriend says

Former Arkansas and NFL running back Peyton Hillis has been taken off a ventilator a week after he reportedly rescued family members during a swimming accident, according to a social media post by his girlfriend.

Hillis' girlfriend, Angela Cole, posted on Instagram on Thursday that Hillis is "on the road to recovery" but added that "he's still got a ways ahead of him."

Hillis has been hospitalized since he reportedly aided in a water rescue Jan. 4 that involved at least one family member off the coast of Pensacola, Florida.

According to Escambia County emergency services, four people -- two adults and two children -- were struggling in the water when a bystander helped them out of the water. Paramedics arrived on the scene, and two adults went to the hospital, including one who was taken by helicopter. Officials would not identify who was involved.

Greg Hillis, who identified himself as Hillis' uncle in a Facebook post last week, said at the time that Hillis was "having some problems with his kidneys and his lungs."

Hillis played for four NFL teams, most notably the Cleveland Browns, with whom he ran for 1,177 yards in the 2010 season and 587 in 2011. He finished his career in 2014 with the New York Giants and also played for the Denver Broncos and Kansas City Chiefs.