CLEVELAND (92.3 The Fan) – Football is the only thing that matters to Cleveland Browns general manager John Dorsey.
It’s the only explanation for his decision to sign running back Kareem Hunt on Monday.
For those that may have forgotten, Hunt is the talented running back from Willoughby South High School who took the NFL by storm and led the league in rushing with 1,327 yards as a rookie with the Kansas City Chiefs in 2017.
He’s also the person caught on video getting into a confrontation with women last February at The 9 in downtown Cleveland. The lasting image from the footage is of Hunt kicking a woman in the hallway of the building.
He is now a Cleveland Brown.
On Monday, Dorsey vouched for Hunt and his character, which was on full display in that video.
“My relationship and interaction with Kareem since 2016 in college was an important part of this decision-making process,” Dorsey said in the statement released by the team.
“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 acknowledged the rightful backlash the team is about to receive for signing Hunt, who will be placed on the commissioner's exempt list and still faces a suspension from the NFL stemming from multiple incidents that are currently under investigation.
“He’ll go on the commissioner exempt list at that point in time until the discipline process has concluded,” NFL comissioner Roger Goodell said on Jan. 30. “Whether there’s discipline or not discipline, we would finish the investigation and then make a determination. That hopefully will happen soon, but we haven’t concluded the investigation and we’re working to do that. There has been a tremendous amount of progress, though, in that investigation over the last, I’d say, 30 to 60 days.”
Hunt was released by the Chiefs on Nov. 30 after the video became public and went viral. He missed the remainder of the season.
“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 the 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.”
As expected, Hunt again apologized for the incident.
“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 released by the Browns. “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.”
The Browns are counting on Hunt to be on his best behavior. Now he will be home now 365 days per year.
Originally drafted by Kansas City in the third round of the 2017 draft, Hunt has appeared in 27 career games. He has rushed for 2,151 yards on 453 attempts (4.7 average) with 15 touchdowns, while adding 79 receptions for 833 yards with 10 touchdowns.
By Daryl Ruiter