Browns Bid Farewell to RB Kareem Hunt

Kareem Hunt is unlikely to return to the Cleveland Browns to backup his good friend Nick Chubb.

Getty Images Kareem Hunt is unlikely to return to the Cleveland Browns to backup his good friend Nick Chubb.

The possibility of Kareem Hunt returning to the Cleveland Browns for another season appeared slim, and now, with the team assigning his jersey number to D’Onta Foreman, it seems all but confirmed that Hunt will not be back.

The jersey numbers for some of the recently signed Browns players were announced on April 9. Foreman took No. 27, which Hunt had worn for the last five seasons. Foreman previously wore the number with the Houston Texans when he entered the league.

It’s an interesting choice by Foreman, who is expected to hold a role similar to Hunt’s with the Browns. Cleveland signed Hunt last season shortly after Nick Chubb suffered a season-ending injury in Week 2. He worked as part of a running back committee that included Jerome Ford and Pierre Strong Jr.

Hunt’s violent running style made him a fan favorite. However, he lacked the explosion he once showed. Hunt’s longest run last season was for 16 yards.

He finished the season with 411 yards on 135 carries, averaging a very pedestrian 3.0 yards per carry. However, he made his most significant contributions in short-yardage situations. Hunt tallied a team-high nine rushing touchdowns during the regular season and scored two more — one receiving and one rushing — in a Wild Card loss to the Houston Texans.

Kareem Hunt Still Looking for New Team

Hunt was open to the idea of returning to the Browns — his hometown squad. But even if he’s not wearing orange and brown next season, he’ll be cheering on the team from afar.

“If the opportunity presents itself and it’s right here, then I wouldn’t be opposed to coming back. It’s my hometown and I want to do nothing but help them win the Super Bowl,” Hunt said on January 15. “It’s my ultimate hope no matter what, even if I’m playing for another team or anything, I would always be happy and satisfied if they bring a championship to Cleveland — it’s my hometown. Shoot, I’d probably be at the parade cheering them on too, if that was to happen. I wish nothing but the best for the organization and the Cleveland Browns and I’m happy that I got to be a part of this journey for so long.”

Hunt will likely have to wait it out to find his next opportunity, with limited interest in free agency so far. He had a few bites last year but started the season without a team. Some interesting comments from his former running backs coach, Stump Mitchell, might not help his cause.

“Well, the thing that I couldn’t do while I was there is get the best out of Kareem. If they bring him back, I hope the next coach will be able to get the best out of Kareem,” Mitchell told News 5 Cleveland in January. “As a coach, all you want to do is to make a player better, but I wasn’t able to get him to not be the last guy in meetings, not to be out at practice on time. Kareem is a hell of a player, but this is a team game

Browns Want D’Onta Foreman to Fill Kareem Hunt Role

Kareem Hunt made his largest contribution last season as a short-yardage back for the Browns.

Getty ImagesKareem Hunt made his largest contribution last season as a short-yardage back for the Browns.

Foreman has bounced around the last three seasons with three different teams but has been productive. Last year, he started eight games with the Chicago Bears. Foreman recorded 425 yards on 109 carries, finding the end zone four times.

His best year came in 2022 with the Carolina Panthers. Foreman ran for 914 yards on 203 carries — a 4.5 yards per carry average — with 5 touchdowns.

The Browns are still awaiting more information on Nick Chubb to determine when he could return to the field. Chubb is still working his way back from a pair of knee surgeries. He’s expected to play at some point next season, but an exact timetable is still uncertain.

Browns GM Andrew Berry said the offseason additions to the running back room don’t indicate how they feel about Chubb’s progress. He added that Foreman is expected to fill a role similar to Hunt’s last season.

“I wouldn’t read too much into it, to be honest with you,” Berry said on March 29. “D’Onta, he really, I think, has a skillset that’s probably pretty similar to how we used Kareem this past year.”

If Foreman can run with the same tenacity Hunt did, he’ll make some fans quickly in Cleveland.

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