The Cleveland Browns are signing Kareem Hunt, but the team will have to wait for the NFL ruling on his suspension before he sees the field. Hunt was released by the Chiefs after a video surfaced of the running back physically assaulting a woman at a hotel. The NFL has not announced how long Hunt’s suspension will be, but it is expected to be for a good portion of the 2019 season.
NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported in December that Hunt is expected to be suspended at least six games.
According to sources with direct knowledge of the situation, Hunt faces more than the baseline six-game suspension for violation of the NFL’s personal conduct policy. The league also has been investigating an incident involving Hunt allegedly punching a man in the face at an Ohio resort in June. The NFL is believed to have found enough from that incident to add to Hunt’s discipline.
However, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported after the Browns signing that the suspension could be much longer, ranging from 10 to 12 games. Hunt has undergone counseling and is hoping this could have a positive impact on the NFL investigation.
Browns GM John Dorsey Drafted Kareem Hunt in 2017 When He Worked for the Chiefs
Chiefs GM John Dorsey was the executive that drafted Hunt when he led the Chiefs front office. Dorsey has as good of background knowledge about Hunt as anyone in the league and appears to be optimistic that Hunt is a contrite individual. Dorsey cited this prior relationship in a statement released by the Browns after the signing, per NFL.com.
My relationship and interaction with Kareem since 2016 in college was an important part of this decision making process but we then did extensive due diligence with many individuals, including clinical professionals, to have a better understanding of the person he is today and whether it was prudent to sign him. There were two important factors: one is that Kareem took full responsibility for his egregious actions and showed true remorse and secondly, just as importantly, he is undergoing and is committed to necessary professional treatment and a plan that has been clearly laid out.
We fully understand and respect the complexity of questions and issues in signing a player with Kareem’s history and do not condone his actions. Given what we know about Kareem through our extensive research, we believe he deserves a second chance but certainly with the understanding that he has to go through critical and essential steps to become a performing member of this organization, aside from what the NFL determines from their ongoing investigation.
According to ESPN, the Browns only signed Hunt to a one-year contract, but the running back will be a restricted free agent after the 2019 season. This means Cleveland will have an opportunity to retain Hunt for the 2020 season if they are pleased with the relationship. ESPN reported the NFL investigation is not near completion and the running back will remain on the commissioner’s exempt list until a decision has been made about Hunt’s future.
A source close to the situation told ESPN’s Dan Graziano that the discipline process was “still ongoing and nowhere near done.” A source told Graziano that Hunt met with NFL investigators in January as part of the process.
Hunt, now that he has signed, will again be placed on the commissioner’s exempt list until the NFL makes a final decision on discipline.
Here’s a look at the video showing Hunt being physically violent with a woman.