The Cleveland Browns are no strangers to signing controversial players. From Braylon Edwards to Johnny Manziel to Josh Gordon, the team has had a habit of bringing in players with issues. But the recently-announced signing of former Chiefs running back Kareem Hunt could trump them all.
On Monday afternoon, following the announcement that they had signed Hunt, the team published a statement from general manager John Dorsey explaining the decision. Dorsey was a member of the Chiefs when the team initially scouted Hunt back in 2016.
Dorsey explained that his relationship with Hunt dating back to his days in college played a part in the decision. He noted that Hunt had demonstrated taking responsibility for his actions and was undergoing treatment for his personal issues.
“My relationship and interaction with Kareem since 2016 in college was an important part of this decision making process but we then did extensive due diligence with many individuals, including clinical professionals, to have a better understanding of the person he is today and whether it was prudent to sign him. There were two important factors: one is that Kareem took full responsibility for his egregious actions and showed true remorse and secondly, just as importantly, he is undergoing and is committed to necessary professional treatment and a plan that has been clearly laid out.”
“We fully understand and respect the complexity of questions and issues in signing a player with Kareem’s history and do not condone his actions. Given what we know about Kareem through our extensive research, we believe he deserves a second chance but certainly with the understanding that he has to go through critical and essential steps to become a performing member of this organization, aside from what the NFL determines from their ongoing investigation. We fully understand that Kareem is subject to discipline by the NFL. Here at the Browns, there is a detailed plan with expectations laid out that he understands and must follow, because any similar incident will not be tolerated. We will support Kareem through this process and utilize our resources, however permitted, to help him become successful on and off the field as long as he continues to show the commitment necessary to represent this organization.”
Statement from GM John Dorsey: pic.twitter.com/TUgoBalvkg
— Cleveland Browns (@Browns) February 11, 2019
Kareem Hunt also gave a statement, apologizing for his actions and thanking Dorsey, the Haslam family, and the Browns for letting him return to the NFL.
“First off, I would like to once again apologize for my actions last year. What I did was wrong and inexcusable. That is not the man I was raised to be, and I’ve learned a great deal from that experience and certainly should have been more truthful about it after the fact. I’m extremely grateful that John Dorsey, Dee and Jimmy Haslam and the Cleveland Browns organization are granting me the opportunity to earn their trust and represent their organization in the best way possible on and off the field. I am committed to following the necessary steps to learn and to be a better and healthier person from this situation. I also understand the expectations that the Browns have clearly laid out and that I have to earn my way back to the NFL. I’m a work in progress as a person, but I’m committed to taking advantage of the support systems that I have in place to become the best and healthier version of myself.”
Hunt came under heavy fire during the 2018 season when TMZ released a video that appeared to show him getting into a violent confrontation with a woman earlier in the year.
The Chiefs cut the second-year running back that same day and no other team attempted to sign him for the remainder of the 2018 season.
As a rookie in 2017, Hunt led the NFL in rushing with 1,327 yards, earning a trip to the Pro Bowl in the process.