The Browns will be without running back Kareem Hunt for the first 8 games of the season, a league source told ESPN. The NFL suspended Hunt for half the season for his incident in the hallway outside his downtown Cleveland apartment in February of 2017 where he was captured on video shoving and kicking a woman.
Hunt and his agent Dan Saffron stated that they will not appeal the decision.
Hunt is allowed to practice with the team through training camp until the suspension begins the first week of the regular season.
Hunt, 23, will also have to continue to take measures to ensure that it doesn’t happen again, including anger management classes.
Browns general manager John Dorsey drafted Hunt in the third round out of Toledo in 2017 when he was the GM in Kansas City. He signed the former Chiefs running back in February, knowing this suspension was a definite possibility.
“Deep down, if you really sit and engage with him, he has a really good heart,’’ Dorsey said at the NFL Combine two weeks ago to Cleveland.com. “Now, the act he did last year was very egregious, we all know that, but the degree of remorse that he has shown, and he is so committed to showing through his actions and not his words that, you know what, he’s going to be a better person.’’
Coach Freddie Kitchens stated that he wants to foster a supportive and positive environment for his recovery.
“We want to truly support him in every way moving forward,” he said. “In saying that, there’s a great opportunity in Cleveland, that he can change and impact more lives in Cleveland by making this turnaround and moving forward. We do not ever condone what happened. Kareem Hunt has an opportunity in Cleveland that he wouldn’t have in other places.
“Kareem Hunt used to play on the football field before the Cleveland Browns. He grew up like that. So maybe Cleveland supports Kareem like the Cleveland Browns are going to support Kareem. And maybe that’s what he needs to live the rest of his life after football.”
He tempered that by stating Hunt has to earn his way back to the field.
“You’d like to surround yourself with people that have your best interests in mind, no different than me or anybody else,” Kitchens said. “We’re going to support Kareem and get him to be, I can’t relay the message enough and strongly enough that we want Kareem Hunt to be a better person and we want to support that aspect of him before we do anything with football.”
The 23-year-old has been on the Commissioner’s Exempt List since November 30 after a video surfaced of the incident. On the same day Hunt was placed on the exempt list, the Kansas City Chiefs decided to cut Hunt.
He’s run for 2,153 yards and 15 touchdowns in his 2-year career.