BEREA, Ohio — The lasting visual of Kareem Hunt’s second NFL season wasn’t him stiff-arming a linebacker, shedding a tackle or barreling over a cornerback at the goal line for a touchdown.
It was Hunt pushing a young woman and then kicking her while she was defenseless on the floor.
That moment caught on a surveillance camera mortified the sports world and led to the Kansas City Chiefs parting ways with one of their best players, a move universally admired.
The Cleveland Browns found it offensive as well. However, they also believe it was a random act by a good-hearted young man who feels remorseful and deserves another chance.
On Monday, the Browns, who seemed to finally emerge from years of gloom, doom and dysfunction by winning seven games behind rookie quarterback Baker Mayfield this past season, signed Hunt to a one-year contract.
The shocking signing came while the league continues to investigate Hunt’s behavior in an incident that took place in a downtown hotel lobby last February. It came just weeks after Cleveland’s turnaround season following a 0-16 calamity that resulted in the hiring of new coach Freddie Kitchens, whose appointment created more momentum for a franchise that has spent the last 20 years spinning its wheels.
The Browns feel they’re doing the right thing. Time will tell. Hunt remains on the commissioner’s exempt list and could receive a significant suspension.
General manager John Dorsey, who drafted Hunt in the third round in 2017 while he was with Kansas City, said the decision to sign the 23-year-old was rooted in his Christian faith. Hunt has shown contrition, sought counseling and treatment, and vowed to never make the same mistake.
That’s enough for Dorsey, who said nothing is guaranteed and that he will have zero tolerance for further wrongdoings by Hunt.
“You guys always hear me talk about men of character,” he told reporters, who met with the GM in a conference room for 25 minutes not long after the team announced Hunt’s signing. “I’ll stand by that. I see a lot of men of character who commit egregious acts. But at the end of the day, they learn from those acts, moved forward and became better people. Again, I believe in second chances.”
Dorsey was adamant that the Browns completed a “thorough” investigation — the league’s inquiry is still not complete — before signing Hunt and that owners Dee and Jimmy Haslam approved the decision to add another troubled player (see Johnny Manziel, Josh Gordon) to Cleveland’s roster.
Broncos Mailbag: Support for Nick Foles to be the next quarterback
Is Kyler Murray right for the Broncos? Pros and cons to the idea of the Heisman Trophy winner in Denver
Kareem Hunt to Cleveland: Browns sign running back on NFL exempt list
Source:: The Denver Post – Sports