The Cleveland Browns signed former Kansas City Chiefs Pro Bowl running back Kareem Hunt to a one-year, non-guaranteed contract knowing full well that he would be receiving a suspension of some kind from the NFL following a physical altercation with a woman in a hotel lobby last summer, which prompted his previous team to release him as soon as—well, as soon as the video was released by TMZ several months later.
Hunt, who was drafted by current Browns General Manager John Dorsey, officially learned yesterday that he would be suspended for the first eight games of the 2019 season. This is well within the range of expected outcomes that Cleveland was prepared to accept.
Part of the reason that the suspension was for eight games was because the running back is said to have made a deal with the NFL to accept the discipline without challenge, which had been a major issue for the discipline of previous players such as Tom Brady and Ezekiel Elliott.
“I want to again apologize for my actions last year”, Hunt said through a statement via the team’s website. “I know that my behavior hurt a lot of people, and I again apologize to them. I respect the league’s decision on discipline, and I appreciate the time I spent with Commissioner Goodell last week. I’m grateful for my time with the Browns over the last month and thankful to all the people in the organization that have welcomed me”.
Beyond, that, he added, “I also appreciate all of the support I received from my union through this process. My commitment to earning the trust of the league, my teammates, the organization and this community through my actions will continue, and I understand there is a lot of hard work ahead of me before I’m able to fully return to playing the game I love”.
The Browns reportedly signed Hunt to a $645,000 contract, which I believe is the same compensation he would have received on his initial rookie deal. Because of the eight-game suspension, he will have to forfeit nearly half of it—over $300,000—but Cleveland’s contract also includes up to $200,000 that he can earn back in incentives. None of his salary is guaranteed, meaning he can be released at any time.
In the meantime, Hunt can be a full participant in the Browns’ offseason in every capacity. He will not have to begin serving his suspension, which requires him to stay away from the team and the facility, until the week of the first regular season game.
Hunt rushed for 824 yards and seven touchdowns with an additional 378 receiving yards and seven more receiving touchdowns in the 11 games in which he played last season before the Chiefs released him. in 27 career games, he has scored 25 touchdowns with just under 3000 yards from scrimmage, leading the league in rushing yards as a rookie.