Cleveland Browns RB Kareem Hunt has had a tumultuous journey over the past few years of his career.
During his rookie season with the Kansas City Chiefs in 2017, the Toldeo product led the NFL with 1,327 rushing yards. In 2018, Hunt was on pace for another 1,000-yard season through 11 weeks. In late November 2018, however, things took a turn for the worst when TMZ released a video showing Hunt shoving and kicking a woman in a Cleveland hotel earlier that February. The then-23-year-old running back was quickly placed on the commissioner’s exempt list before being waived by the Chiefs days later on December 1, 2018.
The Browns eventually broke the ice and signed Hunt to a one-year contract in February 2019, though the NFL handed down an eight-game suspension the following month.
Speaking to Cleveland.com ahead of the Browns Week 17 finale, the third-year back revealed that he stayed in bed for nearly a week following his release from Kansas City.
“I probably didn’t leave the bed for a good four or five days,” said Hunt. “I stayed in my bed for like four or five days. Didn’t really turn the TV on or nothing. Just laid there and chilled.”
Hunt apparently cut off most of his communication with the world in the days following his release, including ignoring his mom’s calls and texts.
“I didn’t answer my mom, probably, for four or five days until she flew out there and popped up on me,” Hunt said with a chuckle. “I didn’t go outside or to the store, out to dinner. Nothing like that, somewhere I could be publicly recognized like that because I was all over TV, news, ESPN. So it was kind of tough in a mental state like that.”
Browns Have Decision to Make on Hunt’s Future
Hunt’s return from his eight-game suspension has been rather seamless to date. In seven games (two starts) with Cleveland, the dual-threat back has racked up 167 rushing yards and a pair of scores on 40 carries. His 34 receptions and 253 receiving yards are also both fourth-best on the team.
Scheduled to become a restricted free agent at season’s end, Hunt recently told reporters that he’s interested in remaining with the Browns going forward.
“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,” said Hunt to the media this week. “That would be something special. You never know. I’m just excited to do whatever it takes. They’re going to get a ballplayer.”
Cleveland has star RB Nick Chubb signed on his rookie contract until 2022, but the one-two combination with Hunt offers a significant challenge to opposing defenses. With $51.5 million in projected cap space for 2020, the Browns will certainly have the means to re-up Hunt if they choose to.
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