CLEVELAND — When the Cleveland Browns signed running back Kareem Hunt, there were plenty of questions as to why they would take a risk on a player that was facing a lengthy suspension for violence against a woman in February of 2018.
At the time, Browns general manager John Dorsey said the organization was willing to give Hunt, who will miss the first eight games of the 2019 season, “a second chance to be a better person” because the player showed contrition about the actions. After spending two months with the Browns, Hunt has made a positive impression on Dorsey.
“I think Kareem’s done a heck of a job,” Dorsey said.
“He’s been working his fanny off in the building. He’s also been working … I couldn’t be happier with how hard he’s working in the building. I couldn’t be happier how hard he’s working out of the building, and that’s all you can ask for him. He’s committed to doing the proper steps here in getting this thing moved forward.”
A native of Willoughby and graduate of South High School, Hunt was released from his rookie contract with the Kansas City Chiefs on November 30, 2018 when video surfaced of him pushing, and later, kicking a woman at The 9 Hotel in Downtown Cleveland.
After the signing became official by the Browns, Hunt released a statement through the team first apologizing for his “wrong and inexcusable” actions and then, pledging to learn from his mistakes.
Since his release from the Chiefs nearly five months ago, Hunt reportedly has sought counselling for his off-the-field issues, which included two other incidents of violence against men.
Dorsey’s remarks echoed those Browns coach Freddie Kitchens made earlier this offseason.
“He really wants to make an impact,” Kitchens said of Hunt two weeks ago.
“Nothing good can ever come out of what happened with Kareem, but there are points that he can get to, to maybe make a difference in other people’s lives. I think he really wants to do that. He is trying, and we are supporting him in every way we can.”
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 went from not expected to have a large role in the offense to rushing 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.
“Kareem is continuing to work to be a better person, like he did when we started this journey with him two months ago,” Kitchens said. “He is the same guy from the standpoint of that he is a nice kid. He really wants to do good. He has been showing that. He was just out the other day doing some charity work downtown.”