Although the Cleveland Browns are set at the running back position, they will likely be linked to embattled running back Kareem Hunt in the coming weeks.
The Cleveland Browns drafted one of the next best running backs in the league when they selected Nick Chubb in the 2018 NFL Draft. However, that likely won’t stop the Browns from being connected to free agent running back Kareem Hunt.
Hunt has been a free agent since late November after a video emerged of him shoving and kicking a woman in a hotel. The incident occurred in a Cleveland hotel in February of last year. Since that video emerged, Hunt has also been connected to a couple more off-field incidents.
After the video emerged, the Kansas City Chiefs released Hunt and the league put him on the Commissioner’s Exempt List. There has been a league investigation into the incidents surrounding Hunt. NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport reported that the investigation seems to be nearing its end.
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With the investigation close to wrapping up, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that multiple teams are showing interest in Hunt, and he will be signed ‘sooner rather than later.’
"Multiple teams have expressed interest in Hunt, and it now appears the former Chiefs running back will have a job “sooner rather than later,” one league source told ESPN. – Adam Schefter"
The only team that has made it known that they will be interested in Hunt’s services are the Chicago Bears, with head coach Matt Nagy publicly making the statement. But Schefter’s report leads to curiosity about which other teams are showing interest in the league.
One of the teams that will likely be connected to Hunt will be the Cleveland Browns. Although they have Chubb and Duke Johnson in the backfield already, Hunt being drafted by current Browns general manager John Dorsey will make Cleveland an obvious connection with Hunt.
During Dorsey’s time as the Kansas City Chiefs general manager, he selected Hunt in the third round of the 2017 NFL Draft. Hunt became arguably the biggest steal in that draft class, as he won the Pro Football Writers of America Rookie of the Year award in 2017.
Dorsey has not been shy about selecting players with off-field issues. He selected Tyreek Hill in the fifth round of the 2016 NFL Draft despite Hill’s connection to domestic violence. Dorsey also most recently selected Antonio Callaway in last year’s draft despite Callaway’s multiple off-field incidents.
Because of Dorsey adding talented players despite those players having off-field problems, the Browns will be a team linked to Hunt, even if they are not actually showing much interest in the 23-year-old running back.
Schefter’s report mentioned how Hunt has been taking anger management classes since being a free agent. Despite these incidents arising, Dorsey may see him taking those classes as a sign of progress and would make less concerned about adding the running back.
Add in the fact that Hunt is a Cleveland native and played his college football just two hours away at the University of Toledo, there will be the connection of bringing the ‘hometown kid back to his childhood team.’
It would make some sense for the Browns to bring in a dynamic player like Hunt. Having a two-headed monster in the backfield with Chubb and Hunt would keep both players fresh and allow them to play to their strengths. Chubb is more of an explosive downhill runner that can run between the tackles while Hunt is dynamic with the ball in his hands and is a receiving threat out of the backfield.
However, Hunt is going to receive interest from teams to be a starting running back. So even though he would have a chance to play for his hometown team, he will have better opportunities in other situations.
The Browns will be a team linked to Hunt this off-season, but it would be a surprise if Cleveland showed serious interest in adding his services. There are a lot of connections to Cleveland, but adding Hunt should not be seen as a serious possibility.