CLEVELAND (WIBW) — Months after a video surfaced showing him attacking a woman, former Chiefs running back Kareem Hunt is back with an NFL team.
The Cleveland Browns announced on Monday that they have signed Hunt. His time in Kansas City came to an end back in November after the Chiefs claimed Hunt wasn't truthful about the incident shown in the video, in which you can see Hunt arguing with, shoving and kicking a woman, when asked.
Browns general manager John Dorsey, who drafted Hunt during his time as the general manager of the Chiefs, explained the reasoning behind signing Hunt in a statement.
“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," 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.”
In the video, you can see multiple people try to separate the woman and Hunt at a Cleveland hotel in February of 2018. He charged through, knocking people over before kicking the woman.
“First off, I would like to once again apologize for my actions last year," Hunt said in a statement. "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."
TMZ, who released the video, obtained body-cam footage showing the two parties giving differing accounts of this incident. The woman had claimed she didn't want to have sex with one of the men with Hunt, while one of the men claimed she had used a racial slur.
No one was arrested and no charges were filed.
Once this video became public, the Chiefs sent the running back home from their team facility and placed him on the Commissioner's Exempt list before releasing him. The NFL is still investigating.
That means Hunt can't play until the investigation is completed and a decision on potential discipline is made.
“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," Dorsey said. "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.”
"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. "I am committed to following the necessary steps to learn and to be a better and healthier person from this situation."
Hunt was also accused of punching a man in Ohio in June. He was also linked to an assault at Kansas City nightclub, where a man accused the running back of being a part of a group of men who assaulted him, causing the 38-year-old victim to claim suffering a broken rib, a broken nose and numerous cuts and bruises.
No charges were filed in either incident, but the NFL is investigating both. That would make three different violent cases involving Hunt, who has claimed to be getting treatment for his issues.
"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.”
Before being released in 2018, Hunt rushed for 824 yards and seven touchdowns, while also racking up 378 receiving yards and seven touchdowns in just 11 games. He led the NFL in rushing as a rookie in 2017, going for 1,327 yards while scoring 11 total touchdowns.