Browns sign former Chiefs RB Kareem Hunt

Feb. 11 (UPI) — The Cleveland Browns have signed former Kansas City Chiefs running back Kareem Hunt.

Cleveland announced the signing Monday. Hunt, 23, led the NFL in rushing during his rookie campaign in 2017. He had 1,202 yards from scrimmage and 14 touchdowns in 11 games this season before being released in November.

The Chiefs cut Hunt after TMZ released footage of the Pro Bowl running back getting into a physical altercation with a woman.

“First off, I would like to once again apologize for my actions last year. What I did was wrong and inexcusable,” Hunt said in a news release from the Browns. “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.”

Hunt said he is committed to following the necessary steps and learning to be a “better and healthier person.”

“I also understand the expectations that the Browns have clearly laid out and that I have to earn my way back to the NFL,” Hunt said. “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.”

A source told NFL Network that Hunt’s contract could be worth more than $1 million, not factoring in a possible suspension. He will be a restricted free agent in 2020.

“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,” Browns general manager John Dorsey said.

“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,” Dorsey added.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said Jan. 30 that Hunt is still under investigation. He said Hunt will go on the commissioner’s exempt list when he signs with a new team, until the discipline process has concluded.

Dorsey said the Browns “fully understand and respect the complexity of questions and issues in signing a player” with Hunt’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,” Dorsey said.

“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.”

Dorsey added that the Browns will support Hunt and utilize their resources to help the running back become successful on and off of the field “as long as he continues to show the commitment necessary” to represent the franchise.

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