One of the few bright spots in the Cleveland Browns season has been the redemption arc for running back Kareem Hunt.
Hunt has been the model teammate since returning from his eight-game suspension, embracing his role as a backup to Nick Chubb, doing whatever has been asked of him.
Hunt has rushed 41 times for 167 and two touchdowns, adding 34 receptions for 253 yards. He’s fourth in receptions on the team, behind only Jarvis Landry (81), Odell Beckham (71) and Nick Chubb (35).
Hunt is on a one-year deal and will be a restricted free agent at season’s end. He’s shown off the versatility and skills that made him a high-level lead back in the NFL, but Ohio-native has expressed a desire to come back to his hometown team next season and possibly beyond.
“Ain’t no place like home, and this is home for me, so I’d love to be in my hometown playing for a long time, maybe finish my career,” Hunt told reporters Friday “That would be something special. You never know. I’m just excited to do whatever it takes. They’re going to get a ballplayer.”
Kareem Hunt Cheering on Nick Chubb in Pursuit of Rushing Title
Part of what has made Hunt’s tenure with the Browns a success is his chemistry with Chubb. He’s shown a willingness to let the NFL’s leading rusher do his thing and come in as needed — even blocking on occasion.
“I don’t have a problem,” Hunt said. “I’m a team player. Whatever I can do help my team, whatever team I play for, I’m going to do it. … Whenever my number is called, I have to be ready to play. I’m content with whatever, as long as we win.”
Chubb has 1,453 yards and a nice cushion on Christian McCaffrey (1,361) for the rushing title. Hunt accomplished the feat during rookie year, amassing 1,327 yards in the Chiefs offense.
He’s been Chubb’s biggest cheerleader as he pursues the lofty goal. The Browns face the Bengals this week, who have the NFL’s worse rushing defense.
“It means a lot [to win one],” Hunt said. “I don’t know a lot of backs who can say they won a rushing title. And it’s hard to do. You’ve got to be consistent, you’ve got to come ready to play every game, and Nick deserves it. He’s a workhorse type of guy, a good person and I can’t be happier for him. He deserves the rushing title, no doubt. And I believe he’s going to get it.”
Kareem Hunt Expects Fight From Bengals
Hunt made headlines for saying that he didn’t believe all of his teammates were giving it 100% in a 38-24 loss to the Cardinals.
Despite being eliminated from playoff contention, Hunt wants to see a the Browns leave it all on the field in their finale, understanding that the one-win Bengals won’t just roll over.
“They’re going to play hard ‘til the clock hits 0.0,” he said. “You saw last game they had a real tight one, so those guys can play and they’re going to play hard.”
The Browns are a 2.5-point favorite for the game.