"This will be a day-to-day thing with earning trust," Browns general manager John Dorsey said of Hunt
Kareem Hunt will have another chance at his NFL career thanks to the Cleveland Browns, who announced on Monday that they were signing the 23-year-old free agent running back to their team.
The news comes just three months after Hunt was released from the Kansas City Chiefs amid controversy over a surveillance video taken last February that showed him shoving and kicking a 19-year-old woman at a Cleveland hotel.
That video, which surfaced in November 2018, led the Chiefs to drop Hunt on Nov. 30 — the team alleging in a statement that Hunt “was not truthful” when initially discussing the incident with “several members of our management team.”
Though police investigated what happened, no arrests were made and Hunt was never charged (Cleveland Police Department Sergeant Jennifer Ciaccia said that the case was not considered a felony).
The NFL also investigated Hunt’s situation — though, according to NFL.com, they have yet to make a ruling.
Still on the Commissioner Exempt list, Hunt is not eligible to play until the NFL’s investigation is completed and a potential discipline decision is made, ESPN reported.
Browns general manager John Dorsey, who was the GM of the Chiefs when Brown was drafted in the third round of the 2017 NFL draft, said in a statement on Monday that the team is aware Hunt “is subject to discipline by the NFL.”
“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’s statement began. “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.”
“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 continued in his statement. “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.”
Dorsey also told reporters in a media conference on Monday that he believes Hunt is “extremely remorseful and “takes full responsibility” for what happened, ESPN reported.
The GM added that he did not reach out to talk to the woman in the video or discuss the incident with groups that deal with domestic violence or violence against women, but that Hunt had been in counseling, ESPN reported. “As we all know, trust has to be earned,” Dorsey said. “That has to be earned with the Cleveland Browns organization and the community of Cleveland moving forward. This will be a day-to-day thing with earning trust.”
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Hunt, a Cleveland native, has expressed regret for what happened, apologizing in a December interview with ESPN and claiming, “I’m definitely not that type of person.”
He echoed that apology in a statement on Monday through the Browns. “First off, I would like to once again apologize for my actions last year,” Hunt said. 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.”
“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 added. “I am committed to following the necessary steps to learn and to be a better and healthier person from this situation. I also understand the expectations that the Browns have clearly laid out and that I have to earn my way back to the NFL. 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.”
TMZ Sports originally obtained the video of Hunt’s February 2018 incident.
In the clip, Hunt and the woman appear to be in a heated verbal argument when he pushes her. After he pushes her, the woman slaps him in the face. Hunt attempts to lunge at the woman but is pulled away by two men. The video then shows Hunt charging and colliding with a man who bangs into the woman. He is also seen kicking the woman in the leg before another woman pulls him away.
Police had responded to the incident at The Metropolitan at the 9 around 4:17 a.m. local time on Feb. 10, 2018. According to a police report previously obtained by PEOPLE, the woman told responding officers that she was asked to leave Hunt’s room because one of the men got mad because she “didn’t want him,” the police report stated.
She also alleged that while she and her friend, both Kent State University students, were sitting outside Hunt’s room, he came outside and “shoved and pushed” her.
Hunt told police that he asked the women to leave when he discovered they were teenagers. He said he went to bed and after a while heard them still out in the hallway. He told someone to call security and have them removed, the report stated.
In addition to Hunt’s involvement in this incident, he was accused of punching a man in June, ESPN reported.