“I want to again apologize for my actions last year,” Hunt said in a statement (via USA Today’s Mike Jones on Twitter). “I know that my behavior hurt a lot of people, and I again apologize to them. I respect the league’s decision on discipline, and I appreciate the time I spent with Commissioner Goodell last week. I’m grateful for my time with the Browns over the last month and thankful to all the people in the organization that have welcome me. I also appreciate all of the support I received from my union through this process. My commitment to earning the trust of the league, my teammates, the organization, and this community through my actions will continue, and I understand there is a lot of work ahead of me before I’m able to fully return to playing the game I love.”
The eight-game suspension is about on-par with expectations, as Hunt was expected to receive at least a six-game ban. NFL Network’s James Palmer tweets that the running back did not appeal the ban. Now that the suspension has been assessed, the running back is allowed to attend Browns offseason activities (and, subsequently, training camp).
The 23-year-old is under investigation for three separate 2018 events — most notably the incident captured on video that showed him shoving and kicking a woman at a Cleveland hotel/apartment complex in February of last year. After that video surfaced, Hunt was placed on the NFL’s Commissioner Exempt, and the Chiefs soon waived the Pro Bowl running back.
After going unclaimed on waivers, Hunt was connected to multiple teams before landing with the Browns. The running back signed a one-year deal that included a base salary of $645K, a $25K per-game roster bonus for each game that he is active, and a $55K offseason workout bonus. Hunt will ultimately give up around $303K of that $645K base salary, and he’ll have a chance to earn around $200K in per-game bonuses upon his return (via ESPN’s Field Yates on Twitter). He would have earned $678K via his rookie contract in Kansas City.
The 2017 third-round pick broke onto the scene as a rookie, compiling 1,782 yards and 11 touchdowns on offense. He continued that production in 2018, as he collected 14 touchdowns through 11 games.
When the running back eventually returns from his suspension, he’ll be joining a talented Cleveland offense. While Hunt is out, the team can lean on 2018 second-rounder Nick Chubb and pass-catcher Duke Johnson Jr., while the passing game will revolve around quarterback Baker Mayfield and wideouts Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.