Kareem Hunt led the league in rushing as a rookie while a member of the Kansas City Chiefs in 2017. He had 14 total offensive touchdowns through the first 11 games of his second season a year ago by the time the Chiefs waived him following the publishing of a surveillance video showing him kicking and pushing a woman in a hotel lobby.
Nobody claimed him off waivers, understandably. He remained unsigned throughout the remainder of the season, and it wasn’t entirely clear anybody would pick him up. But his hometown Cleveland Browns did decide to take the chance on him, even knowing that once signed the league would be suspending him.
Having now served an eight-game suspension, Hunt is set to return to the field for a regular season game for the first time in nearly a year. “I’m more grateful every time I hit the field”, he told reporters, coming off his suspension. “I don’t take any day for granted. I feel like I have before. Honestly, I would never take it for granted because you never know what play could be your last out here or what day could be your last day. I make sure to cherish each and every moment”.
Who knows exactly what Hunt will add to the Browns’ offense as they look to improve upon a 2-6 record. He had seven receiving touchdowns last year, but his quarterback was Patrick Mahomes, who threw 50 touchdowns and over 5000 yards. Now it’s Baker Mayfield, who has more interceptions than touchdowns.
Even though he hasn’t been a part of the team in an on-field capacity yet, however, he’s ready to throw his hand in the pile. He said that the mood in the locker room is “still very positive. We still want to focus on the next game, next play and just go out there and show them who we really are. We’re a great football team. We just need to put all the pieces together and get it rolling and get some momentum on our side and take care of business”.
His first opportunity to contribute will come against the Buffalo Bills, who are 6-2 on the season and at this point actually competing with the New England Patriots for first place in the AFC East, and thus potentially the first seed for the playoffs on the AFC side.
Opponents have had some success running the ball against them, allowing 893 yards on the ground and nine scores at 4.4 yards per attempt. All of those numbers rank in the bottom half of the league.
Hunt will not be toting the ball alone, of course. He’ll be paired with second-year Nick Chubb, who has 803 rushing yards on the season so far, averaging 5.2 yards per attempt, with six touchdowns. His problem has been holding on to the ball, as he’s fumbled three times.