CLEVELAND — Cleveland Browns running back Kareem Hunt was released from his rookie contract with the Kansas City Chiefs last November and suspended for the first eight games of the 2019 regular season largely because of off-the-field incidents in or close to his hometown.
But while others question if the Browns bringing back Hunt to the area where some of the incidents occurred, the third-year running back believes being home is a good thing.
“I’m making my own decisions, and it’s what I do, so I’m not going by anything that other people are saying about my family or what happened here or whatnot,” Hunt said after Wednesday’s OTAs practice at team headquarters in Berea. “Right now, I’m just bettering myself and becoming the best person I can.
“I got a lot of supporters and my family behind me and a great organization like the Browns and I’m just excited to be back on the field.”
A native of Willoughby and product of both South High School and the University of Toledo, Hunt was released from his rookie contract on November 30, 2018 when video surfaced of him pushing, and later, kicking a woman at The 9 Hotel in Downtown Cleveland. Since that video became public, reports of other incidents involving Hunt have surfaced.
The 23-year old Hunt was released by the Chiefs immediately after video of the incident went public. During the video, Hunt was seen having to be physically restrained by another member of a group that had gathered in a hotel hallway.
“It’s not a good feeling,” Hunt said of letting down his mother and grandmother with the incident. “It feels like you let everybody down. I felt that and I definitely don’t want to go back to that place again. I’m always a person who loves seeing people happy.
“Those are my two rocks and I rely on them a lot. They’re always on my side no matter what. They told me just stay focused and stay positive and do what you can to get help so you can figure out how to handle these situations.”
Neither Hunt nor the Browns know if the NFL will allow him to be around the team during his eight-game suspension, but both are hopeful he will be in the facility at least on some level while serving the two-month ban.
“I would love to be around my team and lift them up and try my best to help them out and it would just be a big deal,” Hunt said. “I could stay in tune with the playbook and just be there to support them.
“It would help me tremendously. It would help me a lot. Football is my love and I love to be around the facility and the team and the locker room.”