The Cleveland Browns have successfully secured the return of free agent running back Kareem Hunt, as confirmed by the team on Wednesday. NFL insider Jordan Schultz initially broke the news of the agreement. According to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, the contract spans one year and is valued at up to $4 million.
This move follows the unfortunate loss of Nick Chubb, who sustained a season-ending knee injury during Monday’s match against the Pittsburgh Steelers, as initially reported by Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com. Hunt, who previously donned the Browns’ jersey from 2019 to 2022, is now set to bolster the team’s offensive lineup.
Hunt’s career catapulted when he debuted with the Kansas City Chiefs in 2017, amassing an impressive 1,327 rushing yards and earning Pro Bowl recognition, alongside an Associated Press Offensive Rookie of the Year runner-up accolade. However, a controversial incident in a Cleveland hotel led to his release in 2018. Although not criminally charged, Hunt faced an eight-game NFL suspension due to a violation of the league’s personal conduct policy. This suspension was also linked to a separate altercation in Ohio.
Rejoining the Browns in February 2019, Hunt’s standout season came in his sophomore year, totaling 1,145 yards and 11 touchdowns. In the previous season, Hunt provided critical backup support with 678 total yards and four touchdowns on 158 touches.
While interest loomed in 2023, Hunt remained unsigned until now, with the Washington Commanders expressing inquiries, according to CBS Sports’ Josina Anderson. A last-minute offer from the Indianapolis Colts led to a brief tug-of-war for Hunt’s services, ultimately resulting in his return to the Browns for his seventh NFL campaign.
Despite Hunt’s reentry, Jerome Ford is poised to assume the lead running back role, following an impressive performance with over 100 rushing yards against the Steelers in Week 2. Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski acknowledges the challenge of replacing a player of Chubb’s caliber, emphasizing a collective effort from the backfield.