Kareem Hunt rolled up to his locker after his debut with the Cleveland Browns to find a curious gift waiting in his locker from general manager John Dorsey.
It was a rock — which could be seen as a metaphor on many levels.
“Always stay solid,” Hunt said of the unusual gift. “Always stay solid. You’ve got to be solid as a rock. This rock ain’t going to bend or break.”
Hunt was solid in his debut, helping the Browns snap a four-game losing streak with a 19-16 win over the Buffalo Bills. Hunt finished with 11 touches in his season debut, running for 30 yards on 4 carries and catching 7 balls for 44 yards. His clutch grab late in the fourth helped keep the Browns hopes alive.
“Kareem is such a dynamic player,” quarterback Baker Mayfield said. “He is able to block or run the ball when he needs to. That last drive, he made a great cut block for Nick Chubb on an outside zone play that really sealed the deal for us to get into a good, manageable down and distance. He just does a lot of things well. He wants to win. He is able to sacrifice whatever it takes.”
Kareem Hunt Making Most of Chance With Browns
Hunt was returning from a eight-game suspension for violating the league’s personal conduct policy. He was cut by the Chiefs last year after video emerged of him in an altercation with a woman at a Cleveland hotel in February of 2018.
The Browns took a risk signing Hunt, but it was obvious that the talent was there. He was the league’s leading rusher as a rookie in 2017, and was on pace for another big season last year when the Chiefs let him go. Dorsey, who drafted Hunt while in Kansas City, was willing to take the risk.
“When you make a decision of that magnitude, you have to have depth of knowledge,” Dorsey said after the signing. “You have to be able to communicate what everybody sees, and then from a managing up position, you have to be able to express that with clarity to your bosses and get them to understand that this is a good person, so just trust us on this.”
For Hunt, a Cleveland native, had always dreamed of playing for the Browns, which made his return to the gridiron extra emotional.
“It was a dream always driving down 90, seeing the stadium right along the water,” he said. “I would be like, ‘Wow, that’s a big stadium, way bigger than Willoughby South (his high school). I’d love to play in that’ and honestly it’s a dream come true to be able to play for my hometown and be able to be home.”
Kareem Hunt, Nick Chubb Make for Lethal Combo
Hunt played terrific, but so did his backfield buddy Nick Chubb. He rushed for 116 yards on 20 carries, making it the fourth time this season he broke the 100-yard barrier. Chubb — who has 919 yards this season on the ground — also became just the second player in Browns history to amass 900-plus yards in the first nine games, joining Hall of Famer Jim Brown.
Hunt served as the lead blocker for Chubb on multiple occasions, bullying defenders and blasting open holes.
“It gets me amped,” he said. “It takes some shots off my body. I’ve just got to block one person and not get hit by the other team? OK, we’ll take turns doing it to them, then.”
It appears the partnership is a match made in heaven for the Browns, who can rely on their rock solid running game going forward.
The Browns host AFC North rival Pittsburgh next. Cleveland is an early 2.5-point favorite.