BEREA, Ohio — Kareem Hunt is getting closer to returning to game action.
The Browns running back, still suspended by the NFL for assaulting a woman in Cleveland in February of 2018, was permitted to return to the practice field Monday. The 24-year-old took reps with the rest of the backfield core during the team's individual session.
A graduate of Willoughby South High School and 2017 third-round pick, Hunt became one of the most electric players in the game his first two seasons with the Kansas City Chiefs and even led the NFL in rushing his rookie year. However, after video showing him in an altercation with a woman at The Metropolitan at the 9 downtown that included him kicking her, the Chiefs immediately released Hunt, and he hasn't played a meaningful snap since.
Not long after the season ended, the Browns took a flyer on Hunt and signed him with a base salary of just $645,000. The move drew national controversy, but general manager John Dorsey defended bringing Hunt in while at the same time calling the incident at the 9 "egregious."
"He’s got to earn the trust of everybody within this organization, with everybody within the community of Cleveland moving forward," Dorsey said at the time.
KAREEM HUNT: Video of assault was ‘pretty bad,’ not who I am
Even after being signed, the NFL decided Hunt had not yet been punished enough for his actions, and suspended him for the first eight games of this season. While he saw brief time in the preseason, he is still not eligible to return to game action until Week 10 against the Buffalo Bills.
Hunt has seemingly stayed out of trouble since arriving in Cleveland, although he was caught up in an incident outside another downtown establishment in August that saw him talk to police officers. He called the situation a "misunderstanding" and has not been accused of wrongdoing.
"I’m just gonna lay low and continue working at being a better person and get ready for this season," Hunt added during training camp.
How exactly the Browns plan to ease Hunt into the lineup or use him in tandem with up-and-coming back Nick Chubb. Right now, head coach Freddie Kitchens says it's just "good to have him back in the locker room."
Browns players were happy to have Hunt back, too.
"It was really cool," offensive guard Joel Bitonio said. "I know he has tried to work his tail off to get back and be healthy for us. Now I know he is a couple of weeks where he is going to figure it out, but it was cool."