We've signed RB Kareem Hunt
— Cleveland Browns (@Browns) February 11, 2019
The signing does not mean Hunt will be in the Browns backfield with Nick Chubb to open the 2019 season. Hunt is expected to face a substantial suspension for an attack on a female in a downtown Cleveland hotel in February, 2018.
Browns general manager John Dorsey selected Hunt in the 2017 NFL draft when he was in a similar role with the Chiefs.
“My relationship and interaction with Kareem since 2016 in college was an important part of this decision making process,” Dorsey said. “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.”
Dorsey has a history of taking players with off the field issues. The Browns general manager traded up in the fourth round in 2018 to pick trouble wide receiver, Antonio Callaway. It’s all about the talent they possess on the football field.
“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,” Dorsey said. “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.”
Dorsey and the Browns plan to give all the support needed to Hunt moving forward.
“We fully understand that Kareem is subject to discipline by the NFL. Here at the Browns, there is a detailed plan with expectations laid out that he understands and must follow, because any similar incident will not be tolerated. We will support Kareem through this process and utilize our resources, however permitted, to help him become successful on and off the field as long as he continues to show the commitment necessary to represent this organization.”
As for Hunt, he is thankful for a chance to eventually resuming his NFL career.
“First off, I would like to once again apologize for my actions last year,” Hunt said via a Browns press release. “What I did was wrong and inexcusable. That is not the man I was raised to be, and I’ve learned a great deal from that experience and certainly should have been more truthful about it after the fact.”
Joining the Browns is a homecoming for Hunt. The running back made a name for himself at Willoughby South high school, about 20 miles northeast of Cleveland. Hunt played his college football at the University of Toledo, just a two hour drive west of Cleveland.
“I’m extremely grateful that John Dorsey, Dee and Jimmy Haslam and the Cleveland Browns organization are granting me the opportunity to earn their trust and represent their organization in the best way possible on and off the field. I am committed to following the necessary steps to learn and to be a better and healthier person from this situation. I also understand the expectations that the Browns have clearly laid out and that I have to earn my way back to the NFL. I’m a work in progress as a person, but I’m committed to taking advantage of the support systems that I have in place to become the best and healthier version of myself.”
The deal is one year worth $1 million. Hunt can become a restricted free agent following the 2019 season.
The signing of Hunt could make fellow running back Duke Johnson a candidate to be traded.