The Cleveland Browns have signed running back Kareem Hunt just months after he was released by the Kansas City Chiefs for his involvement in an altercation which video emerged of, showing him shoving and kicking a woman in a Cleveland hotel in February 2018.
Hunt is currently on the Commissioner's Exempt List. Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports that the goal was for Hunt to sign before the investigation into his misconduct concludes. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has said the findings would come soon.
The video shows Hunt arguing with a 19-year-old female Kent State student in the hotel's hallway. During the altercation, Hunt is seen shoving her after she who hits him in the face. After friends try to hold back Hunt, he pushes one of them into the woman, which causes both individuals to fall. Later in the video, the woman is crouched on the ground after trying to get up and Hunt is seen kicking her. Police were called to the hotel but no one was arrested and no charges were filed. The kick from Hunt, which is shown in the video, was reportedly not included in police reports by either party.
Hunt was allegedly involved in two other fighting incidents. One incident allegedly took place at an Ohio resort in June 2017, where he got into a physical altercation with a guest. The other altercation allegedly took place at a Kansas City night club following a Chiefs playoff loss in 2018.
“First off, I would like to once again apologize for my actions last year. What I did was wrong and inexcusable," Hunt said in a statement. "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. 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.”
Per Rapoport, Hunt agreed to a one-year deal worth more than $1 million without factoring in the suspension. Hunt will be a restricted free agent at the end of the 2019 season.
General manager John Dorsey said that Hunt has taken full responsibility for his egregious actions and showed true remorse. He added that Hunt is also undergoing professional treatment.
“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 in a statement. "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. 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.”
Rapoport reports that Hunt has undergone alcohol and anger management counseling and will continue to do so as a member of the Browns. Hunt has met with NFL investigators regarding his incidents and a suspension is coming.
Last season, Hunt tallied 824 yards and seven touchdowns through 11 games this season for the 9–2 Chiefs. As a rookie, Hunt led the NFL in rushing with the Chiefs during the 2017 season, when he recorded 1,327 yards.