The Cleveland Browns signed former Kansas City Chiefs running back Kareem Hunt and it really just compounds a larger problem.
There was a time when Kareem Hunt was considered one of, if not the best running back in all of football. Coming off being the NFL’s rushing leader as a rookie, Hunt found himself quickly thrust into the spotlight. As the 2018 season progressed that spotlight was not on his on field performance. It was squarely on a February 2018 incident at a downtown Cleveland hotel. Soon afterwards Hunt was released by the Kansas City Chiefs and remained unsigned until February 11, 2019. That is when the Cleveland Browns agreed to sign Hunt.
Kareem Hunt is a talented running back and can be one of the most dynamic offensive players in the game. That is not the issue. The issue is with Hunt’s now very apparent anger problem and decision making. In addition to the widely publicized hotel incident, there are two other incidents that have been investigated by the NFL. The fact that there are multiple incidents shows that this is not a one time issue, but a pattern of poor decision making.
While away from football Kareem Hunt has made attempts to better himself. Attending alcohol and anger management counseling, Hunt is publicly showing his attempts to be a better person. Whether they are authentic or not is a completely different story.
Kareem Hunt will most likely serve a suspension of some sort and at this time has been placed on the all too familiar Commissioner’s Exempt List. If this list sounds familiar, Josh Gordon has spent plenty of time previously on the same list.
Browns are just doubling down on bad decisions
This is not the first questionable decision that the Cleveland Browns made this offseason. The decision to hire Mike Priefer as the special teams coordinator was the first mistake. Priefer made egregious statements during his time with the Minnesota Vikings in regards to the LGBT community. The statements were wrong then and they are wrong now, regardless of any sort of “apology” made by Priefer. Now the Browns are showing that they are perfectly fine with the actions of Kareem Hunt.
The team, team officials and anyone associated with the team can claim they do not condone his actions, but the fact that the Browns signed him says something entirely different. The Browns may perform extensive research in regards to the incidents and truly believe that he can better himself. Cleveland may feel that Kareem Hunt deserves a second chance. While giving someone a second chance is perfectly fine in most cases, this is not one of them. Once a man commits an act of violence against a woman all second chances should be revoked. It is unacceptable to allow someone without the ability to realize that this action is wrong to play in the league ever again.
What message are the Browns truly sending?
The message they are sending is that as long as you can make plays and help the team win games, it really does not matter what you do off the field. Saying that gays should be nuked? Perfectly fine. Committing unnecessary acts of violence against women? That is fine too. But the reality of the situation is that neither are fine. In fact both are unacceptable.
In a perfect world neither person would be associated with the Cleveland Browns. While this would not necessarily keep Hunt or Priefer out of the league, it would at least keep the Browns on the right track they appeared to be headed in previously. One that not only was that of a quality football team, but one that did not employ people with a background as questionable as Hunt’s and Priefer’s.
John Dorsey is taking a chance on Kareem Hunt to help the Cleveland Browns win games, but that does not mean if another issues arises that he will not move on immediately.
Once on the field and in uniform will Kareem Hunt help the Cleveland Browns win games? If he is in NFL shape, absolutely. Hunt is a great football player and someone with his particular skill set is what an NFL team seeks to acquire. Players with Hunt’s talent can make the difference in deciding games. However that is not what the issue is. The issue is that Hunt has some serious off the field issues and it is highly unlikely that counseling can magically fix them.
Sure, Dorsey has shown previously he will not deal with nonsense when an additional chance has been given. A perfect example of this is moving on from Josh Gordon. If Hunt finds himself involved in another incident, it would be hard to imagine Dorsey not cutting ties right then and there.
At the end of the day the Cleveland Brown do not need Kareem Hunt
The Browns already have two running backs more than capable of being productive in the NFL. Nick Chubb graded out as the top running back according to Pro Football Focus and if used correctly Duke Johnson is an excellent back in the passing game. Kareem Hunt is not a need, he is a luxury and a highly controversial one at that.
Cleveland was able to win games and put together one of the best offenses in football down the stretch and that was without Kareem Hunt. That was with Nick Chubb and Duke Johnson handling the running back duties. While both are capable or performing well, the offense does not run through the running back position. The Browns offense runs through Baker Mayfield and not the running backs, not matter how good they are. Mayfield is what makes the offense work, most other pieces are replaceable and interchangeable. Sure elite players help, but they are not a necessity with Mayfield lining up under center.
Kareem Hunt may do something in a Cleveland Browns uniform, he may do absolutely nothing. Only time will tell. What is known is that the Browns signed Kareem Hunt even though it is an extremely controversial move and rather unpopular.
Well it is unpopular in most circles, there are fans that just put blinders on and applaud the signing of an excellent player. Even if said player did something so disgusting and lied about it to his former team who subsequently released him.