In yet another move that is sure to become a public relations nightmare for the NFL, the Cleveland Browns have signed Kareem Hunt.
In November, the Kansas City Chiefs released the talented running back after a video surfaced that appeared to show Hunt knocking over and kicking a woman in a Cleveland hotel hallway the February prior.
Hunt is currently on the Commissioner’s exempt list, meaning he still needs to be reinstated by the league. The league is still investigating the said video, as well as two other incidents in which Hunt allegedly punched a man at a resort and took part in a separate club altercation.
“My relationship and interaction with Kareem since 2016 in college was an important part of this decision making process but we then did extensive due diligence with many individuals, including clinical professionals, to have a better understanding of the person he is today and whether it was prudent to sign him,” Browns general manager John Dorsey in a statement. “There were two important factors: one is that Kareem took full responsibility for his egregious actions and showed true remorse and secondly, just as importantly, he is undergoing and is committed to necessary professional treatment and a plan that has been clearly laid out.
“We fully understand and respect the complexity of questions and issues in signing a player with Kareem’s history and do not condone his actions. Given what we know about Kareem through our extensive research, we believe he deserves a second chance but certainly with the understanding that he has to go through critical and essential steps to become a performing member of this organization, aside from what the NFL determines from their ongoing investigation. We fully understand that Kareem is subject to discipline by the NFL. Here at the Browns, there is a detailed plan with expectations laid out that he understands and must follow, because any similar incident will not be tolerated. We will support Kareem through this process and utilize our resources, however permitted, to help him become successful on and off the field as long as he continues to show the commitment necessary to represent this organization.”
Hunt has appeared in 27 career games and rushed for 2,151 yards and 15 touchdowns, while adding 833 yards and 10 touchdowns through the air. Back in 2017 during his rookie season, Hunt led the NFL with 1,327 rushing yards and made the Pro Bowl.
“First off, I would like to once again apologize for my actions last year. What I did was wrong and inexcusable. That is not the man I was raised to be, and I’ve learned a great deal from that experience and certainly should have been more truthful about it after the fact. I’m extremely grateful that John Dorsey, Dee and Jimmy Haslam and the Cleveland Browns organization are granting me the opportunity to earn their trust and represent their organization in the best way possible on and off the field. I am committed to following the necessary steps to learn and to be a better and healthier person from this situation. I also understand the expectations that the Browns have clearly laid out and that I have to earn my way back to the NFL. I’m a work in progress as a person, but I’m committed to taking advantage of the support systems that I have in place to become the best and healthier version of myself,” said Hunt in a statement.
Last season Hunt appeared in 11 games and totaled 824 rushing yards, 378 receiving yards and 14 total touchdowns. Now, he’ll star in the Cleveland backfield alongside Baker Mayfield.