Travis Kelce knows the Kansas City Chiefs will miss Kareem Hunt, saying on Saturday that it “ripped their hearts out” when the Pro Bowl back was cut following news that he was involved in an altercation with a woman at a Cleveland hotel.
Kelce is part of Cleveland Browns wide receiver Jarvis Landry’s celebrity softball game and spoke to reporters briefly before the game.
“You guys are getting an unbelievable athlete,” Kelce, a Cleveland native, told reporters. ” Somebody that can change the game with one or two carries, one or two touches and really give you a chance to win.”
Cabot later reported Kelce’s expanded stance on Hunt and what his experience with the running back has been.
“The biggest thing was as much as you try to stay away from the actually situation that happened, Kareem has been nothing but a good friend and a good teammate,’’ said Kelce. “He’s been in the community trying to make a difference in other people’s lives. That’s what’s real. Everyone has things that go wrong in their lives. It’s how you come out of those situations that determine your true character. I think I’ll just leave it as that. What we said is true. Kareem, I hope he makes the best of his situation.”
The Browns signed Hunt to a second-chance, no-risk deal in February. Browns general manager John Dorsey drafted Hunt with the Chiefs, giving him some familiarity to base the controversial decision on.
“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,” Dorsey said in a statement following the signing. “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.”
Kareem Hunt’s Suspension Details
Hunt is suspended for the first eight games of the season for violating the league’s personal conduct policy. He was placed on the commissioner’s exempt list last fall following video showing his altercation with a woman.
In the video, which was from February of 2018, Hunt could be seen shoving and kicking a woman.
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“I got to earn people’s trust back and my actions are going to show,” Hunt told reporters at the team’s first set of OTAs.
Kelce is confident his former teammate — and now AFC rival — will make the most of his new opportunity.
“He’s an unbelievable player,” Kelce said. “It ripped our hearts out when he got released from Kansas City, but to see him get another chance, I would hope and I would think he’s going to make the absolute most of it.”
On the field, Hunt’s numbers are gaudy. In his first two seasons, the Toledo product racked up 2,151 rushing yards, 833 receiving yards and fumbled just once — which came on his first career carry.
Baker Mayfield Asked Travis Kelce, Patrick Mahomes About Kareem Hunt
Hunt seems to be making some good impressions early on with his new team.
“Good kid. Mistakes happen,” Baker Mayfield told reporters at OTAs. “Everybody that has been around him knows who he is. I think he was given a second chance and he is taking advantage of it.”
Mayfield had reportedly asked Kelce and reigning NFL MVP Patrick Mahomes about Hunt after the team signed him. Kelce confirmed the conversation on Saturday, according to Cabot.
“Nothing but a lot of good things to say, and that is important,” Mayfield said. “What guys say about you in the locker room speaks more about you than anything you will do on the field.”
Head coach Freddie Kitchens has also been a vocal supporter of helping Hunt get back on track following the incident. He and Dorsey showed up to Hunt’s baptism this offseason as a surprise.
“We care about Kareem as a person,” Kitchens told USA Today. “We went there for Kareem Hunt as the person and not the football player. The thing we did yesterday was not about football at all.”