The Browns signed Hunt last offseason in a somewhat risky move after the former NFL rushing leader was released by the Kansas City Chiefs shortly after video of him striking a woman was made public. After serving an eight-game suspension, Hunt — a Cleveland native — finished with 179 rushing yards and two touchdowns. He also caught 37 balls out of the backfield for 285 yards and proved to be a solid locker room presence.
In the run game, Hunt will be paired with Nick Chubb, who just missed out on the rushing title a season ago, finishing with 1,494 yards and eight touchdowns. But there’s a chance that the Browns will be able to utilize both stud running backs at the same time. New Browns wide receivers coach Chad O’Shea said during a conference call on Wednesday that he has been very impressed with the pass-catching ability of Hunt, opening the door for the Toledo product to be a valuable piece of the passing game.
“I have been very impressed with him as a receiver,” O’Shea said. “I have been fortunate to be around a lot at that spot, and I know that it brings great value to that position when you can be a threat in the pass game, for sure.”
Could Kareem Hunt be Browns Third Wide Receiver?
O’Shea was pressed multiple times about Hunt playing the role of a third wide receiver over someone like Rashard Higgins or rookie Donovan Peoples-Jones, among others. O’Shea left the door open for multiple possibilities, but did note that Hunt has been involved in the wide receiver meetings during the team’s virtual offseason.
“We definitely, as we’d do if we were in the building, have had a lot of crossover with other positions and other coaches,” O’Shea said. “I just think it has been really helpful.
“Certainly, the job of a receiver we always say is to get open and to catch the ball, and we are going to try to do that,” O’Shea added. “When we are asked to put two of our guys on the field, we are going to do it, and when they call for three of us, we are going to go out there and do it. I think that those discussions as a coaching staff are ongoing, and we will continue to have those in the future. I do not think it is set in stone right now, and our players understand, too, that it is a situation that is constantly evolving and we are learning about our players and what they do best.”
Offensive coordinator Alex Van Pelt took that statement a bit further, saying it would be “crazy” not to have both Hunt and his running mate Chubb on the field at the same time.
“I think you’d be crazy not to have your most talented guys on the field,” Van Pelt said, via Keith Britton of 92.3 The Fan. “Whatever package that is. We would be crazy not to put those guys on the field at the same time. Both dynamic as runners, pass catchers, protectors”
Browns RB Kareem Hunt Has Something to Prove
Hunt has said mostly all the right things since landing in Cleveland and has shown a high-degree of unselfishness, even lead blocking for Chubb at times.
Hunt truly just wants an opportunity to prove himself and show the NFL he’s still got it. After all, he’ll be an unrestricted free agent next offseason and has the potential to earn another opportunity as a lead back.
“I was born with a chip on my shoulder. It’s definitely still here, more than ever,” Hunt told Cleveland Browns Daily earlier this offseason. “I definitely can’t wait to go out there and shine. My name really don’t get brought up much at all. But it’s fine. I’m going to come out there and get mine. That’s all I can do — take it play by play and make the most of my opportunities. People I play against, they’ll realize again.”