The Cleveland Browns announced on Monday afternoon that they have signed running back Kareem Hunt.
Hunt, a 2017 Pro Bowler as a rookie, was released by the Kansas City Chiefs in November after video surfaced of an incident in which he is seen shoving and kicking a woman in a Cleveland hotel earlier in 2018.
However, it’s unclear when Hunt will be able to play for Cleveland: there is at least one other incident of Hunt being violent toward another individual that the NFL is investigating (he was accused of punching a man at an Ohio resort last summer), and he could be suspended for six games or more.
John Dorsey gives Hunt another chance
Given Hunt’s talent, there was little question he would get another chance somewhere. It’s not surprising that the team to give it to him was the Browns — general manager John Dorsey was in the same role with the Chiefs two years ago, and drafted Hunt in the third round.
In a statement, Dorsey said his previous relationship with the 23-year-old was part of the decision to sign Hunt.
“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,” Dorsey said. “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. We fully understand that Kareem is subject to discipline by the NFL.”
In 2016 Dorsey also drafted Tyreek Hill, who pleaded guilty to domestic assault and battery on his girlfriend in a 2014 incident; she was pregnant at the time.
Hunt: ‘I’ve learned a great deal’
The Browns also posted a statement from Hunt:
“First off, I would like to once again apologize for my actions last year. 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. I’m extremely grateful that John Dorsey, [owners] 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.”
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