Cleveland Browns running back Kareem Hunt was suspended for the first eight games of the 2018 season.
FILE PHOTO: Oct 8, 2017; Houston, TX, USA; Kansas City Chiefs running back Kareem Hunt (27) runs with the ball as Houston Texans inside linebacker Zach Cunningham (41) defends during the second quarter at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
Hunt was on the commissioner’s exempt list since Nov. 30 during the NFL’s investigation into a physical altercation captured by an Ohio hotel surveillance system in which Hunt shoved to the ground and kicked a woman.
Hunt’s agent, Dan Saffron, said there will be no appeal in a released statement in response to the announcement of the discipline.
“PFS Agency stands behind our client, Kareem Hunt, in his decision to accept the suspension handed down by the NFL today,” Saffron said.
The NFL said in a statement Hunt’s ban is the result of two separate incidents.
“Kareem Hunt of the Cleveland Browns was notified today that he has been suspended without pay for the Browns’ first eight regular season games for violations of the NFL Personal Conduct Policy in connection with physical altercations at his residence in Cleveland last February and at a resort in Ohio last June. Hunt was placed on the Commissioner Exempt list on November 30 and was released by his former club, the Kansas City Chiefs, that same day. The findings followed a detailed investigation by the NFL, which included reviewing available law enforcement records, video and electronic communications, interviews with numerous witnesses, and multiple interviews with Hunt.
“Hunt has advised the league office that he accepts responsibility for his conduct and the discipline that has been imposed. He has committed to take advantage of available resources to help him grow personally and as a member of the Cleveland community, and to live up to his obligations as an NFL player. The eight-game suspension will take effect as of the final roster reduction on August 31. Hunt will be eligible to play in the Browns’ ninth regular season game.”
When the video surfaced, Hunt was released by the Chiefs. The Browns signed Hunt to a one-year contract in February after general manager John Dorsey — who drafted Hunt as GM of the Chiefs — and owner Jimmy Haslam reviewed the situation and discussed appropriate steps toward contrition with Hunt.
“We had done our research,” Dorsey said at the NFL Scouting Combine. “We thought at the appropriate time with all the information we did have, how truly remorseful he was and … knowing when he comes here there are no guarantees, he’s going to earn your respect with his actions. Right now, I feel very comfortable with the signing.
“Deep down, if you really sit down and engage with him, he has a really good heart. The act he did last year — it was egregious. We all know that. … He’s showing through his actions, not his words, how remorseful he is.”
Hunt is not permitted to be with the Browns during the suspension, but can participate in training camp and preseason games.
ESPN reported Hunt will forfeit $303,529 of his $645,000 base salary. He is scheduled to be a restricted free agent in March 2019.
“He’s got a lot of work to do,” Browns coach Freddie Kitchens said in Indianapolis, “between now and when that second chance comes. Right now, our job is to support Kareem and help him grow as a person.”
—Field Level Media