Despite the Kansas City Chiefs having boasted just one 1,000-yard rusher over the last five seasons, the defending champions’ 2020 rushing attack might just be in its healthiest state since Jamaal Charles graced the Arrowhead Stadium turf.
That 1,000-yard runner, of course, was 2017 rookie Kareem Hunt, who racked up a league-best 1,327 yards and eight touchdowns, plus another 455 yards and three scores in the air.
After enjoying similar success 11 games into his sophomore season in Kansas City, the career trajectory for the then-23-year-old took a complete nosedive after a TMZ video emerged showing Hunt shoving and kicking a woman in a Cleveland hotel in February 2018, this in light of numerous domestic confrontations involving players in recent years.
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Just days later, Hunt was waived by the Chiefs organization after being placed on the commissioner’s exempt list. His professional playing days remained in limbo for about two and a half months before the Cleveland Browns signed Hunt to a one-year contract in February 2019, of which he served an eight-game suspension. During the final eight games of last season, Hunt got back to his dynamic ways on the field, posting 179 rushing yards, 285 receiving yards and three total touchdowns (two rushing) while serving as a complement to fellow Pro Bowl RB Nick Chubb.
When asked on Monday whether he had moved on from a missed Super Bowl opportunity with his former squad, Hunt gave a candid response.
“I have moved on from that. I love those guys,” Hunt told Cleveland sports radio station 92.3 The Fan. “I got brothers on that team. I came in with a lot of those players. Love the coaches there. All good people and they deserved it, and I am happy for them. I talk to a lot of them and I am very happy for them. They are champs. They deserve it. I know how hard that team works and how hard they stress to be great.”
Hunt Admits to Being Bedridden for ‘Days’ After Release
While hundreds of players are cut or traded from NFL rosters every year, the reality of the situation is different for each individual. In the case of Hunt, it took nearly a week for the 2017 Pro Bowler to get over the initial shock of being cut from Kansas City’s roster back in 2018.
“I probably didn’t leave the bed for a good four or five days,” Hunt told Cleveland.com prior to the 2019 Browns’ season finale. “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.”
As Hunt described, not even his own mother was an exception to the rule as he cut off most lines of communications in the days following the transaction.
“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.”