CLEVELAND — In nearly every personnel and coaching decision made since general manager John Dorsey joined the organization in December of 2017, he has cited wanting to add “men of character” to the organization.
And Dorsey remained confident the Browns are living up to that edict despite signing free-agent running back Kareem Hunt, who is being investigated by the NFL for his actions in a physical altercation with a woman at a Cleveland hotel last February.
“We have two separate things here,” Dorsey said. “We have the egregious act and we have the football player. Now, what you have to do is take that person, and if the person is truly remorseful and he owns up to his mistake, he seeks to be a better man, I’m okay with a guy trying to get better.
“You guys always hear me talk about men of character. I’ll stand by that. I see a lot of men of character who commit egregious acts, but at the end of the day, they learn from those acts, moved forward and became better people. Again, I believe in second chances.”
A native of Willoughby and graduate of South High School, 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, a product of the University of Toledo, 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.
Since being released, Hunt reportedly has sought counseling to address his off-the-field issues, and that is part of the reason Dorsey felt comfortable enough to add him to the roster.
“I know this, if you talked to anybody who’s been in the locker room with Kareem Hunt, they’ll tell he was a really good teammate,” Dorsey said.
“That locker room, to me, is a microcosm of society as a whole, and there’s different moving parts within any society. The whole key is the collective strength of everybody within that locker room bringing everybody together. And I think there’s nothing better than the collective strength of that locker room being able to help and influence and develop young men. That’s what strength, culture and character is within that locker room.”
In two years with the Chiefs, Hunt rushed for 2,151 yards and 15 touchdowns with 106 first downs, 19 plays going for at least 20 yards and four 40-yard gains. Additionally, Hunt caught 79 passes out of the backfield for 833 yards and 10 touchdowns, including a single-season career high of seven in 2018.
As a rookie in 2017, Hunt rushed for an NFL-best 1,327 yards on 272 carries, an average of 4.9 yards per attempt, which earned him a spot on the AFC Pro Bowl team.
“I felt there was remorse, and I’ll stand by it,” Dorsey said. “He understands the magnitude of his actions. There is nothing guaranteed here. I keep saying that. Again, he has to earn the trust of everybody within this organization and the city of Cleveland. I think he’s man enough to do that.”