Former Chiefs running back Kareem Hunt says the Browns’ next game is personal.
For every member of the Cleveland Browns organization, the team’s recent win over the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday is a burden lifted, a chance to celebrate and feel excited about the future given that 25-year timeline between playoff victories. Immediately following the game, however, Browns running back Kareem Hunt was already anticipating the team’s next matchup.
If you ask Kareem Hunt, the Browns’ trip to play the Kansas City Chiefs in the Divisional Round is “personal.” You can listen to him say so right here:
The idea that this game is “personal” makes sense in some ways. After all, Hunt is very familiar with these Chiefs and should actually be a part of the roster even still given that he was the team’s third round pick in the 2017 NFL Draft—the same draft class at Patrick Mahomes and Tanoh Kpassagnon. Hunt led the NFL in rushing during his rookie year with the Chiefs and became an integral offensive element for nearly two years—that is, until he sidelined his own career.
It’s off-putting to hear Hunt has something personal against the Chiefs. It’s one thing if a player is unceremoniously dumped by another team and then gets a chance to play them again. Those sorts of “it’s personal” sentiments are entirely understandable. In fact, it’s often fun to root for the player in that sort of instance.
That said, Hunt was responsible for his own undoing in Kansas City. Not only did he get involved in multiple offseason altercations between his rookie year and his sophomore season in 2018, but he also tried to lie about his role in one major incident. What began as a he said/she said cross-complaint of assault turned into a TMZ-released video on which Hunt was seen shoving and kicking the same woman. According to the Chiefs, Hunt was given several chances to come clean and he’d continue to lie to the franchise the entire time. In late December of his second season with the team, Hunt was released.
From there, Hunt would be suspended by the NFL for the first half of 2019 and the Browns would pick up the tab on a cheap single-season deal in the hopes he would mind his manners. He’s been a key offensive contributor ever since.
Hunt was always a marvel to watch in K.C., and fans certainly have exciting memories watching him bounce off tacklers like few ball carriers can. His skill set is a rare gift and the Browns are fortunate to have him (and Nick Chubb for that matter). At the same time, Hunt made his bed. The idea that he has something to show a team that offered him multiple chances to make things right is a bit silly and immature.
Perhaps it was the emotions of the moment in the locker room. Perhaps it was adrenaline talking or maybe someone asked the wrong question at the right time. But maybe Hunt thinks he really does have something to prove to the Chiefs on Sunday afternoon, some motivational edge he’s wanting to work out. If so, he’s telling himself the wrong story.