Cynically, it was surprising no NFL team claimed Kareem Hunt off waivers. Because a team is going to give him a second chance at some point, probably soon.
No matter that Hunt was seen on camera shoving and kicking a woman last year, then was cut by the Kansas City Chiefs. He led the NFL in rushing yards in 2017, and he’s 23 years old. We can debate whether it’s right or wrong, but we all know it’s incredibly likely he’ll get signed.
Chicago Bears coach Matt Nagy, who was the offensive coordinator for the Chiefs when Hunt was NFL rushing champion, didn’t avoid the topic of Hunt when he was asked on Monday. In fact, he said he spoke to Hunt about a week ago.
Matt Nagy has praise for Kareem Hunt
Nagy said he just wanted to check in with Hunt to see how he’s doing off the field when he spoke to him.
“The only thing I cared about when I talked to him was literally his personal life, how he’s doing,” Nagy said, via Kevin Fishbain of The Athletic.
Maybe Nagy does care simply about Hunt as a person and has no interest in signing him. But it also is hard to believe Nagy and general manager Ryan Pace haven’t at least considered it.
The reporters at the season-ending press conference for Pace and Nagy noted that they didn’t exactly say no to the possibility of signing Hunt.
“There were no issues at all,” Nagy said, via Dan Wiederer of the Chicago Tribune. “He was a really, really good kid. He came to work every day. He wasn’t late to meetings, any of that. … It’s a learning lesson. That’s the biggest thing, making sure he understood that when I talked to him.”
Bears would have to weigh whether to sign Hunt
The Bears have probably run through what would happen if they signed Hunt.
They’d be criticized. But that usually passes; think of all the players around the NFL who are on their second chance and how often their off-field issues come up. It’s rare. Then the Bears would have an elite running back, presumably at a bargain contract as Hunt tries to rehabilitate his image. Football-wise, every team has done that math in their heads. There’s no denying Hunt would make the Bears a better team.
The Bears probably won’t be the only team that tries to sign Hunt, whenever that might be. Nagy didn’t sound opposed to the idea, and it’s probable that his recent phone call to Hunt wasn’t his last.
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