Embattled former Kansas City Chiefs RB Kareem Hunt signed a one-year deal with the Cleveland Browns Monday. Hunt, from Willoughby, Ohio, will have a chance to play with his hometown Browns. The Browns sign Hunt only two months after video was released of him pushing and kicking a woman outside his hotel room. Hunt will be on the Commissioner’s Exempt List according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapport until investigation is completed with respect to this and several other incidents involving Hunt. Hunt was released by the Chiefs in November 2018.
Browns GM John Dorsey said in a statement in part, “we (Browns) believe he deserves a second chance.” Hunt, who led the NFL in rushing during his rookie season in 2017, played in 11 games before being released by the Chiefs in 2018. Dorsey, who formerly was an executive for the Chiefs, has assembled a talented Browns team that now has additional depth at the RB position. The Browns who already had Nick Chubb & Duke Johnson, now add a Pro-Bowl player who at one time was considered one of the best backs in the NFL. The Browns add a controversial, yet dynamic back to a talented team that will look to make the playoffs for the first time since 2002.
According to Rapport, Hunt has been attending alcohol and anger management classes as he works his way back to the field. The former Toledo Rockets star will now look to earn a fresh start in a place he knows well and that will hopefully for him bring stability to a situation that has been anything but since November. Questions will continue to swirl around the NFL as another team signs a talented, yet troubled player that has or is currently dealing with a domestic violence situation. The NFL, who’s had issues dealing with players who have been involved in domestic violence allegations in the past, must attempt to navigate another investigation in order to determine punishment for one of its own. It is no doubt that the NFL will be under the microscope once again with respect to how they handle their latest high profile domestic violence investigation. If the past is any indication on how the NFL will proceed, look for the NFL to take its time especially with video evidence of the player involved. Mitigating circumstances have called into question the severity of punishment that Hunt may receive as a result of the incident.
As we have seen with the Ezekiel Elliott case, mitigating factors don’t necessarily dissuade the NFL from meriting out punishment that may seem unfair to those on the outside looking in. By all accounts the NFL will look to take a measured approach with respect to Kareem Hunt and punishment being levied against him. A statement from the running back stated in part “I am committed to following the necessary steps to learn and to be a better and healthier person from this situation.”
For now the Browns, Hunt, and the NFL are all now on the clock to see what will become of the new Browns running back’s punishment and it’s severity. For the Browns it’s a low-risk, high reward move that allows them flexibility at the running back position where they are already have good depth. In part, Dorsey’s relationship with Hunt was a factor in taking a chance on the 23 year old back, which both hope will bring stability to a very complicated situation. Time will only tell if Hunt is able to truly learn and thrive in a situation that’s familiar and unfamiliar all at the same time.