Cleveland Browns running back Kareem Hunt learned his fate Friday, getting an eight-game suspension for two off-field incidents, one of which was captured on video. Hunt, who was then with the Kansas City Chiefs, was seen on tape in 2018 shoving and kicking a woman in the hallway of a Cleveland hotel where he kept an apartment. He was also involved in an August 2018 altercation with a man, whom he allegedly punched.
The 23-year-old then lied to the Chiefs about the incident. Once the videotape surfaced in December, Kansas City immediately released him. Hunt said in a statement at the time expressing regret, and did so again on Friday, once the suspension was announced.
“I want to again apologize for my actions last year,” Hunt said in the statement. “I know that my behavior hurt a lot of people, and I again apologize to them. I respect the league’s decision on discipline, and I appreciate the time I spent with Commissioner (Roger) Goodell last week.”
From Pariah to Hot Commodity
When Kansas City released Hunt there was doubt that he would play in the league in 2019. Oddsmakers certainly echoed that sentiment. Oddsshark made him a -260 not to be with a team, while the yes was a +175 underdog.
A month later, however, the attitude towards Hunt had changed, and so did the odds. When Chicago Bears coach Matt Nagy said he would be open to having Hunt on his team if the situation was right, the odds swung hard in the opposite direction. Suddenly Hunt was a -500 to be on a team and a +300 not to be.
Sure enough, less than a month after Nagy’s comments, Hunt’s hometown team, the Cleveland Browns, signed the troubled player. Browns general manager John Dorsey has history with Hunt. He was the Chiefs’ GM and drafted him in 2017 in the third round.
Dorsey said in February that Hunt would have to earn a spot on the team.
“We believe he deserves a second chance but certainly with the understanding that he has to go through critical and essential steps to become a performing member of this organization,” Dorsey said.
His pay is dependent on his play. His one-year salary is set at $645,000, but will give back $303,529 because of the eight games he will miss. His contract does have incentives for on field achievements that could pay him additional money.
Part of Potentially Potent Offense
When Hunt returns the team should have an effective running game. Hunt led the NFL in rushing as a rookie in 2017 with 1,327 yards and eight touchdowns. Last season, he rushed for 824 yards and seven touchdowns in 11 games.
The team already has 2018 No. 1 overall pick, quarterback Baker Mayfield, and now they have someone for him to throw to. The Browns acquired former New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. earlier this week.
Dorsey told Nick Shook of the team’s official website, that he understands the reputation Beckham has, but he is not concerned.
“I know Odell is very passionate, I know he is competitive, and I know he can help this football team,” Dorsey said. “If you can get a chance to acquire a guy like that, take a shot at it.”