The Cleveland Browns signed Kareem Hunt on Monday afternoon, bringing in both a tremendous talent and a high-risk player who now heads home.
John Dorsey doesn’t care about character. He has proven it time and again.
John Dorsey does care about talent. He has also proven that time and again.
On Monday, the Cleveland Browns signed Kareem Hunt to a one-year deal. Hunt, 23, is currently on the commissioner’s exempt list after being released by the Kansas City Chiefs, following video emerging of him shoving and kicking a 19-year-old woman in The Metropolitan at the 9 Hotel.
Now, the Browns are bringing Hunt home, to a town where he violently abused the aforementioned woman in February. The same town where he allegedly punched a man at a club in June. It’s beyond a gamble for Dorsey and the Browns. It’s reckless.
Hunt grew up in Willoughby, Ohio, a suburb 19 miles to the northeast. He’ll now be surrounded by those who have directly influenced his decision-making, including many of the situations that had a rookie rushing champion on the market halfway through his second year.
For Dorsey, the move makes little sense on its face but also fits his profile. The Browns already have a promising second-year running back in Nick Chubb. Still, during his four-year stint with the Kansas City Chiefs, Dorsey took chances on draft picks with sketchy backgrounds. The biggest name was Tyreek Hill, a 2016 fifth-round pick who strangled his pregnant girlfriend while at Oklahoma State in 2014.
In short, Dorsey has always shown the willingness to acquire talent regardless of the potential price, monetary and otherwise.
Hunt’s abuse and emotional issues have been on national display for months. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell spoke to the media during his annual State of the League on Jan. 30 prior to the Super Bowl and stated the league’s investigation into Hunt was progressing well. Still, the NFL hasn’t levied punishment yet, putting the Browns in an uncertain spot.
ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported Monday that the NFL is expected to suspend Hunt for 10 or 12 games.
If this fails, Dorsey should be forced to answer every question in painstaking detail. He knows the risk of bringing in trouble, let alone inviting said trouble back to the scene of the crime. Hunt may learn from his mistakes and become a positive in the community. He could also become a blight, and he certainly is going to be a suspended sidelight throughout the summer for a team that finally is getting positive reviews for the first time in 25 years.
The Browns have pressing needs at offensive tackle, receiver, cornerback and on the interior of the defensive line. Resources could have been allocating elsewhere to have Cleveland back in the playoffs for the first time since 2002. Instead, Dorsey signed his guy with the optics bearing out a man trying to justify his initial read on a kid. After all, scouts don’t move up without conviction.
Dorsey better be right here. Hunt’s homecoming needs to be proven correct. If it goes sideways and Hunt ends up in tabloids more than the end zone, there will be a cavalcade of criticism.