John Dorsey on Kareem Hunt’s family background: “You don’t take things like that lightly”

Darin Gantt
ProFootball Talk on NBC Sports

Browns General Manager John Dorsey could have probably saved a lot of time during yesterday’s press conference about the signing of Kareem Hunt by just answering: “Because he’s good at football, that’s why.”

Throughout it, he earnestly insisted that the former Chiefs running back deserved a second chance, and used his own religious faith as a shield in his defense. But even if you exclude the Feb. 10 assault on a woman in a Cleveland hotel and a pending league suspension (and those are two pretty big things to exclude), there are other reasons to be skeptical about the timing and setting of Hunt’s second chance.

For one thing, one of the other two incidents the league is investigating happened at a resort in Ohio, another at a nightclub in Kansas City. Perhaps more troubling is bringing Hunt back to his hometown puts him in closer proximity to friends and even family that might not be the best influence.

According to Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Hunt’s father (also named Kareem) was arrested for drug trafficking in nearby Elyria on Jan. 25. He admitted to selling crack cocaine and marijuana.

“You don’t take things like that lightly,” Dorsey said. “You just talk through them and then you have to understand the family dynamics of his situation, and who the circle of friends are. It’s through your actions you’ll earn the trust. Now we’ll see. . . .

“(But) at the end of the day, you have to be convinced that you have a plan in place that will put him in a position to thrive and become that person that we expect him to be. Because the goal of this organization is not only do you leave as a better football player, you leave as a better man.’’

Dorsey emphasized the need for Hunt to earn his second chance by working in the Cleveland area, so he can see the impact of his actions and others can see him. And while Dorsey talked about his “zero tolerance” for future missteps, he also described Hunt as a “neat kid.”

Hunt has been involved in counseling since December for the incident in which he shoved a woman and kicked her.

Asked if that was sufficient time to have rehabilitated himself, Dorsey replied: “I’m not a professional. I’ll look into the depth of that but I don’t have a clear answer on that.”

That was among the answers Dorsey didn’t have yesterday. For all the people he talked to about the February incident, he did not talk to the victim, or even try to, saying: “That’s probably part of her privacy stuff.” He also didn’t talk to local women’s domestic-violence organizations, but said he plans to.

As long as they think football is the most important thing here, the conversation should go fine.

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