BEREA, Ohio – Kareem Hunt says he made “a mistake”. And now he’s out to make the most of a second chance the Cleveland Browns have given him.
“I know I’m not going to mess up this again,” I said Wednesday after the team’s first OTA in the season.
Running back signed with Browns in February after being cut by the Kansas City Chiefs when a video arose from Hunt shoving and kicking a woman in a hotel in Cleveland in 2018. Due to that night, Hunt will miss the first eight games of 2019 -season to break NFL’s personal conduct policy.
Despite the incident happening in Cleveland, Hunt 23 believes there was no better place for him to play than in his hometown.
“It definitely turned out to be good landing in a situation like Browns and being close to home,” Hunt said. “I have many supporters and my family behind me and a good organization like Browns.”
I said several times Wednesday that he “made a mistake” and that he knows he must “make better decisions”. He also said that the video was difficult to watch and he has no problem with anger, but that he is dealing with anger management counseling to better handle what happened on the 2018 evening.
“I am not an angry person” I said, “I felt like I needed to make better decisions.”
Hunt, who led the NFL in rushing with 1,327 yards in 2017, described himself as a positive person trying to get a smile on everyone’s face. Nick Chubb has already seen that side of his new teammate.
“He’s cool, he’s a good guy,” Chubb said. “I enjoy having him as a teammate. He keeps you laughing and he keeps you.”
Since returning to Cleveland this winter, Hunt has reached out to local high school students to talk to them about making the right decisions in their lives and learning from some mistakes they make along the way.
“I really had no one to talk to me when I was in high school,” said the chase. “I have told them,” You must make clear decisions. “I’ve made mistakes, everyone makes mistakes. You have to learn from your mistakes and don’t make the same mistake. Think before you act. When your feelings get high, don’t do your feelings.”
The decision to speak to high schools was a made by Hunt, not by the organization or league.
“This is where it must come from, it must come from his heart and his words,” said Freddie Kitchens. “I’ve been impressed by how he has gone on things.”
Brown’s quarterback Baker Mayfield said the team has welcomed Hunt. Mayfield, arrested in 2017 and burdened with general poisoning, disorderly behavior, opposed to arrests and refugees while playing at the University of Oklahoma, knows how to handle backlash. Mayfield said he was talking to Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelce – Hunt’s former teammates with the bosses – and that the two were vouched for running back.
“Errors can happen, I can speak from personal experience,” Mayfield said. “Everyone who has been around him knows who he is, so I think he’ll get another chance and will benefit from it.”
Kitchen also believes that the third year’s pros from nearby Willoughby South High School will take advantage of the opportunity Browns gave.
“Everyone in life is upset and not everyone in life gets a second chance,” Kitchens said. “I think he does most of it. I really do. We support him in everything he does”.
At the end of the day, Hunt knows that the words are just words and people will not be able to fully trust him until he shows with his actions that he is really sad.
“I’ll take it day by day,” I say. “I have to serve people’s trust and my actions will show.”