Browns Set Expectations For Kareem Hunt After Trade Demand

Kareem Hunt

Getty Images Browns running back Kareem Hunt talks with head coach Kevin Stefanski.

It was a tumultuous offseason for Kareem Hunt but he’ll get his first chance to put that behind him when the Cleveland Browns take the field for Week 1.

Hunt is entering the final year of his contract and made it clear to the Browns that he wanted an extension before the season started. He even went as far to stage a brief “hold-in,” which meant he was showing up to camp but not participating in the team portion of practice.

Hunt requested a trade amid the drama but the Browns quickly rebuffed it, saying he would have a role in the offense and that they had no interest in moving him.

While the situation had the potential to cause a ruckus, the Browns have steered clear of that and are excited to see Hunt contribute.

“Anything that happened previously [is] ‘water under the bridge,’” Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski told reporters on September 7. “He is a big part of what we do.”

Nick Chubb Ready to Work in Tandem With Kareem Hunt

Hunt burst onto the scene as a rooking, leading the NFL in rushing as a rookie in 2017 with the Chiefs. He has more than 5,150 yards from scrimmage and 44 touchdowns to his name over a five-year NFL career.

However, he’s coming off an injury-riddled season where he dealt with calf and ankle issues. Those limited him to eight games and he notched just 386 yards and five touchdowns, also adding 22 receptions for 174 yards.

However, as long as he’s in Cleveland, Hunt will sit behind Nick Chubb on the depth chart, who has emerged as one of the best backs in the NFL. The Georgia product has eclipsed more than 1,000 yards in each of the last three seasons with an average better than 5 yards per carry. He signed a three-year, $36 million extension last season, keeping him in Cleveland through the 2024 season.

Chubb limits Hunt’s upside in a critical contract year but the two have embraced the tandem role when they’re both healthy. Chubb has been one of Hunt’s biggest cheerleaders and is hoping that their partnership continues to thrive this season.

“I feel like with Kareem, at the end of the day, he loves football, he’s passionate about it and he loves playing with us on this team, so at the end of the day, he’s going to put his pads on, go out there and play hard for us no matter what,” Chubb said Wednesday. “He’s a great teammate, so that’s the biggest thing with Kareem, he’s going to play hard for us no matter what.”

Browns Are Loaded at Running Back

Aside from Chubb and Hunt, the Browns have some strong options in D’Ernest Johnson and rookie Jerome Ford, who was a bright spot during the preseason.

With Hunt and Chubb banged up last season, Johnson — a former undrafted free agent — started a pair of games and finished the season with 534 yards on 100 carries and three touchdowns. He also had just one year left on his deal and would like to get some work in to boost his value when he becomes a free agent.

Ford is still a work in progress but look well worth the fifth-round pick the Browns spent on him in this year’s draft. He notched 19 carries for 88 yards in the preseason and also caught 8-of-9 targets for 71 yards.

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