Kareem Hunt

Browns RB Kareem Hunt Fully Healthy

Kareem Hunt missed about half of the 2021 campaign thanks to various injuries. Fortunately for the running back, he used the offseason to get fully healthy. Hunt told Chris Easterling of the Akron Beacon Journal that he’s good to go heading into training camp.

[RELATED: RB Kareem Hunt Wants To Re-Sign With Browns]

“I’m good, I’m 100%,” Hunt said. “I have some time to heal this offseason and get back to it. So body is feeling good, nothing’s bothering me.”

2021 was a tough season from a health perspective for Hunt. He suffered a calf injury in October that sidelined him to miss five games. He ended up returning for a pair of games, but an ankle injury (and a stint on the COVID list) ultimately ended his season early. While the Browns chose to shut down Hunt prematurely, the running back admitted that he would have pushed through the injury and played had Cleveland had a better shot at making the postseason.

“You know, it’s tough because I’m not used to sitting at home and watching some games on the couch and stuff like that,” Hunt said. “So it was kind of a weird thing. I don’t like that feeling not being able to go out there and help the team so it was very tough.”

When Hunt was on the field in 2021, he was plenty productive. He averaged 5.6 yards on his 100 touches, finishing with 560 yards from scrimmage and five touchdowns. He’ll rejoin a depth chart that still includes the likes of Nick Chubb and D’Ernest Johnson. The Browns are also rostering Demetric Felton and rookie Jerome Ford.

While Hunt is focused on getting back on the field, he also has a slight distraction in his impending free agency. We previously heard that the running back was open to signing a new deal with the Browns, and he reiterated that desire to Easterling.

“I hope I get paid,” Hunt said. “So you know, whatever they decide, they know I’m going to come out there and give it my all and I’ll do whatever I can to help the team win.”

RB Kareem Hunt Wants To Re-Sign With Browns

Kareem Hunt would like to stick around Cleveland. The running back told Mary Kay Cabot that he’s hoping for an extension from the Browns (Twitter link).

“Right now I’m just taking it day by day,” Hunt said. “I’m going to see what they want to do with me. I’m just taking it day by day. Hopefully I can be here long term.

“I was born and raised here. I’d love to finish my career here and just keep playing the game with [Nick] Chubb longer and with the great guys on this great team.”

Hunt, who was born in Lorain, Ohio and attended Toledo, joined his hometown team in 2019 after getting released by the Chiefs amid assault allegations. The subsequent NFL investigation resulted in an eight-game ban for Hunt, and while he managed to get into each of the Browns’ next eight contests, he didn’t play a major role on offense.

During the 2020 offseason, Hunt signed the second-round restricted free agent tender before inking a separate two-year, $13.25MM extension. He can earn up to $6.25MM in 2022 before hitting free agency next offseason. He outplayed his contract in 2020; despite only starting five games, Hunt managed to finish the year with 1,145 yards from scrimmage and 11 touchdowns. He was limited to only eight games in 2021 but managed to tie a career-high with 4.9 yards per carry.

If Hunt is willing to take a hometown discount, the Browns would surely consider an extension. However, if Hunt is looking to be paid like a starting-caliber RB, he may be hard pressed to get that contract in Cleveland. The team inked Chubb to a new deal last July, and there’s little chance the front office would want to pay significant money to two RBs.

AFC North Notes: Conklin, Hunt, Steelers

Browns offensive tackle Jack Conklin missed quite a bit of time during his second year in Cleveland, seeing two separate trips to the injured reserve. He spent three weeks on injured reserve after an elbow injury sidelined him in early November. In his first game back from injury, Conklin tore his patellar tendon and promptly returned to injured reserve for the rest of the season.

According to Mary Kay Cabot of cleveland.com, Conklin’s recovery is coming along quite well. While he remains off the field in OTAs, rehabbing on his own, and likely will be held off the field in mandatory minicamp, as well, Conklin is expected to be ready to practice at the start of training camp. He will likely be limited as camp opens up, but Conklin is expected to be ready to start once the Browns roll into Charlotte this September to open their season.

Here are a few more notes out of the AFC North, starting with another note from The Land:

  • The Browns have a fairly full running backs room. Nick Chubb is the premier back with D’Ernest Johnson and Demetric Felton serving complimentary roles and fifth-round draft pick Jerome Ford joining John Kelly in reserve roles for the position. Despite the wealth of potential contributors and the lack of certainty concerning his future going into a contract year, Kareem Hunt is viewed a valuable member of the Browns’ offense going into the season. According to Mary Kay Cabot, Hunt “is still very much in the Browns’ plans for this season” with no ideas of dealing or releasing the 26-year-old due to a lack of substantive extension discussions.
  • Omar Khan was recently promoted to the role of general manager of the Steelers. He doesn’t have a strong background in personnel, but is well-versed on the way Pittsburgh operates. It appears that Khan had a plan in place to address that weaker section of his resume. According to Mark Kaboly of The Athletic, Khan pushed for his hiring to be a sort of package deal including his good friend Andy Weidl, who served previously as the vice president of player personnel for the Eagles. Bringing in Weidl and pairing him with director of pro scouting Sheldon White, who has extensive league experience in player personnel, creates a strong trio of executives to start a new era in the Steel City.

Browns Rumors: Hunt, Watson

Browns running back Kareem Hunt is heading into a contract year for the 2022 NFL season, after only appearing in eight games last year. Mary Kay Cabot of cleveland.com spoke on the contract situation, reporting that it seems very up in the air for now.

Hunt entered the 2021 season as the back up to Nick Chubb, racking up 361 rushing yards, along with five touchdowns before suffering a calf injury that would land him on injured reserve. He appeared in two more games after returning from injured reserve, but sat for the last four games of the season.

Cabot posits that if negotiations can be dealt with before camp is underway, it would bode well for Cleveland’s chances to keep the Hunt-Chubb tandem together. If no deal is reached by the time the season starts, though, it would be much less likely that Hunt stays in the orange and brown.

Hunt showed in Kansas City that he can be a lead back, and, with Nick Chubb firmly planted above him on the depth chart, Hunt may be willing to let this year be an audition to other teams to show that he is healthy and ready to take over lead-back responsibilities once again.

Here are a few more rumors from Cleveland, these concerning newly acquired quarterback Deshaun Watson:

  • Cleveland turned a lot of heads when they gave up a package that included three first-round draft picks to acquire Watson and then gave him a fully-guaranteed contract for $230MM, despite the 22 civil lawsuits he faces for alleged sexual misconduct and sexual assault. Mike Sando of The Athletic heard from several executives from around the NFL who thought the moved reeked of desperation. Many thought the deal showed team owner Jimmy Haslam putting head coach Kevin Stefanski and general manager Andrew Berry in a bind, forcing a move the two likely wouldn’t otherwise have made. They claim the move gives Watson undue power to force decisions and do whatever he wants, saying he “doesn’t need to listen to anybody.” One executive said that rewarding Watson with the fully-guaranteed contract basically was a statement that all of his publicized issues don’t matter.
  • Sheil Kapadia of The Athletic enlisted the help of Jason Fitzgerald, operator of OverTheCap.com, to talk about some of the deals made around the NFL this offseason. Fitzgerald addressed the opinion that Watson’s legal situation being ignored in the awarding of his fully-guaranteed contract will set a new precedent for guaranteed contacts around the league. “I don’t think it will,” Fitzgerald said. He continued, “I know I’m in the minority on that…He was basically a free agent. The Texans said, ‘Go out and sell yourself to these teams.’ And that was what he did…Deshaun Watson was essentially a free agent. I don’t think there’s any other quarterbacks that ever make it to free agency to where they’re even gonna have that opportunity.” He compared the situation to Kirk Cousins, when he signed his first fully-guaranteed deal, ignoring the obvious publicity issues that come with Watson’s situation. He even mentioned earlier in the article that he saw Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson pursuing a situation that will play out similar to Cousins’. So it’s strange that a couple teams later in the article, he would claim that the precedent doesn’t matter because he thinks it likely won’t happen again. Regardless, Fitzgerald seemed to acknowledge that a precedent may have been set, but minimized the importance of that precedent on the assumption that similar situations would be few and far between.

Browns’ Baker Mayfield, Case Keenum Ruled Out

Baker Mayfield and Case Keenum weren’t able to test out of the NFL’s COVID-19 protocols in time for today’s game (Twitter link via NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero). With that, Nick Mullens is set to start for the Browns against the Raiders today.

[RELATED: Raiders-Browns Moved To Monday]

The Browns were able to activate safety John Johnson III from the list, but the bulk of their COVID-19 positive players from last week will be held out. To fill the roster, the Browns have elevated cornerbacks Brian Allen and Herb Miller, safeties Tedric Thompson and Jovante Moffatt, defensive end Joe Jackson, guard Hjalte Froholdt, and running back John Kelly for tonight’s game.

Without their top two QBs, the Browns will need a big day out of their running backs. Unfortunately, that group won’t include Kareem Hunt, who also finds himself on the COVID-19 list. Instead, they’ll look to Nick Chubb, who has 5.5 yards per carry on the year, and D’Ernest Johnson, the reserve who turned in a couple of impressive performances earlier this year.

Browns Place RB Kareem Hunt, Seven Others On Reserve/COVID-19 List

The Browns have placed more players on the reserve/COVID-19 list, including running back Kareem Hunt. The team announced that the following players have landed on the reserve/COVID-19 list:

In his third season with the Browns, Hunt has totalled 386 rushing yards and five touchdowns, along with an additional 174 yards on 22 catches in eight games. The 26-year-old has been a key member of the Browns’ backfield alongside Nick Chubb, helping the team average 143.5 rushing yards per game, ranking fourth in the NFL.

The team also announced that offensive assistant coach T.C. McCartney has tested positive for COVID-19. We learned earlier today that the NFL was pushing Saturday’s game between the Browns and Raiders to Monday.

Meanwhile, Cleveland activated linebacker Anthony Walker Jr. from the reserve/COVID-19 list, and they’ve signed quarterback Kyle Lauletta to the active roster off the Jaguars practice squad. Lauletta, 26, has appeared in just two NFL games. Both were with the Giants in 2018, where he went 0-for-five with one interception. He has since spent time on the Eagles’, Falcons’ and Browns’ practice squads, only going to Jacksonville’s after being waived at the end of August.

Browns RB Kareem Hunt Expected To Miss Week 15

It sounds like the Browns will have to play without two key players on Saturday against the Raiders. Browns coach Kevin Stefanski told reporters that running back Kareem Hunt and cornerback Troy Hill are considered week-to-week and aren’t expected to play this weekend.

[RELATED: Browns Place Eight Players On COVID-19 List]

This is unfortunate timing for Hunt, who just returned from a calf injury that he suffered in Week 6. Hunt was limited to a season-low 20 offensive snaps on Sunday after suffering an ankle injury, an ailment that will likely knock him out for additional contests. The running back had 1,145 yards from scrimmage and 11 touchdowns during the 2020 campaign, but he’s been limited to only 560 yards and five scores this season.

“That is the nature of the beast,” Stefanski said (via Andrew Gribble of the team’s website). “Obviously, you hate injuries, and the competitor that Kareem is, you hate that he is going through this, but he has to rehab and get back as soon as he can.”

Hill has gotten plenty of run in Cleveland’s secondary this season, but his injury couldn’t come at a worse time. Cornerback Greg Newsome II is currently in concussion protocol, while safety Ronnie Harrison is dealing with an ankle injury. The Browns will presumably add another defensive back to their roster prior to Saturday night.

Browns Activate RB Kareem Hunt, RT Jack Conklin

As expected, the Browns will be getting some reinforcement tomorrow night against the Ravens. The team has officially activated running back Kareem Hunt and and right tackle Jack Conklin from injured reserve. Both players are listed as questionable but are expected to play. Cleveland has also waived guard Hjalte Froholdt and defensive end Joe Jackson, and they’ve promoted defensive end Porter Gustin and wideout Jojo Natson from the practice squad (via Nate Ulrich of the Beacon Journal on Twitter).

Hunt has been on Cleveland’s IR list since suffering a calf injury in Week 6. Despite Hunt missing extensive time and Nick Chubb being sidelined for multiple games as well, Cleveland’s vaunted rushing attack still leads the NFL. Hunt, however, was averaging 5.2 yards per carry through six games. The ex-rushing champion has topped out at 4.9 over a full season.

Hunt has experienced knee and wrist issues as well this season, and he is unlikely to be 100% again until the 2022 campaign. But Hunt returning at slightly less than 100% would certainly help a Browns team that has struggled through the air. The running back duo obviously affects the Browns’ offensive output. In five games with Chubb and Hunt active, the Browns are averaging 28.4 points and 417.6 yards per game. In the six in which either has missed, they have scored just 16.5 points per contest while averaging barely 315 yards, via ESPN.com’s Jeremy Fowler (on Twitter).

Conklin went down with a dislocated elbow in Week 8, adding a three-game absence on top of a two-game hiatus earlier this season. The Browns gave the ex-Titans right tackle a three-year, $42MM deal in 2020. His five missed games this season mark his first extended absence since 2018, when he missed nine games. The former first-round pick remains one of the NFL’s best right tackles. Pro Football Focus grades Conklin 14th among all tackles in his abbreviated 2021 slate.

Jackson has appeared in a career-high 10 games this season, collecting 11 tackles and one sack. Froholdt has seen time in four games for Cleveland this season. Gustin got into 14 games for the Browns last year but has been limited to only one appearance in 2021. Natson has also seen time in one game this season, returning three kickoffs.

Browns Designate Kareem Hunt, Jack Conklin For Return

FRIDAY: Both Hunt and Conklin are expected to return when first eligible. Kevin Stefanski said he anticipates each key contributor being activated and suiting up in the Browns’ pivotal Week 12 game against the Ravens on Sunday night, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. While Cleveland has 21 days to activate each player, it looks like neither will stay in IR-return limbo longer than a week.

WEDNESDAY: Two key pieces of the Browns’ offense will be back on the practice field Wednesday. The team designated Kareem Hunt and Jack Conklin to return from IR, opening their respective 21-day activation windows.

Hunt has been on Cleveland’s IR list since suffering a calf injury in Week 6. Conklin went down with a dislocated elbow in Week 8, adding a three-game absence on top of a two-game hiatus earlier this season. Both will be eligible to return Sunday, should the Browns move to activate them by Saturday afternoon’s deadline.

Despite Hunt missing extensive time and Nick Chubb being sidelined for multiple games as well, Cleveland’s vaunted rushing attack still leads the NFL. Hunt, however, was averaging 5.2 yards per carry through six games. The ex-rushing champion has topped out at 4.9 over a full season.

Hunt has experienced knee and wrist issues as well this season, and he is unlikely to be 100% again until the 2022 campaign. But Hunt returning at slightly less than 100% would certainly help a Browns team that has struggled through the air. The running back duo obviously affects the Browns’ offensive output. In five games with Chubb and Hunt active, the Browns are averaging 28.4 points and 417.6 yards per game. In the six in which either has missed, they have scored just 16.5 points per contest while averaging barely 315 yards, via ESPN.com’s Jeremy Fowler (on Twitter).

Like Hunt, Conklin is signed through the 2022 season. The Browns gave the ex-Titans right tackle a three-year, $42MM deal in 2020. His five missed games this season mark his first extended absence since 2018, when he missed nine games. The former first-round pick remains one of the NFL’s best right tackles. Pro Football Focus grades Conklin 14th among all tackles in his abbreviated 2021 slate.

Baker Mayfield Not Expected To Miss Time

Already battling a fractured shoulder, Baker Mayfield left Sunday’s game in New England with a knee injury. The Browns are not likely to need another Case Keenum fill-in start, however.

Neither Mayfield nor Kevin Stefanski expect a second missed start, though the fourth-year quarterback said (via cleveland.com’s Mary Kay Cabot, on Twitter) this is probably the most beat up he has been in his football career. Mayfield is not practicing Wednesday.

Mayfield escaped his latest injury without structural damage, suffering a knee contusion in the Browns’ loss to the Patriots. Mayfield’s shoulder issue did require one missed game, a narrow Week 7 win over the Broncos, but he has otherwise played through that issue — one that will almost certainly require offseason surgery. The Browns face the 0-8-1 Lions in Week 11.

As for Mayfield’s backfield, Nick Chubb remains on the Browns’ reserve/COVID-19 list. The Pro Bowl back is vaccinated and can return by submitting negative tests two days apart. Stefanski added Kareem Hunt will not return in Week 11, despite being eligible to do so. The fifth-year back has missed four games with his calf injury but is moving closer to returning. Demetric Felton also remains on Cleveland’s COVID list. The Browns activated running back John Kelly from their virus list.

The Browns have played without both Chubb and Hunt twice this season. D’Ernest Johnson was the last man standing in both games, and the ex-Alliance of American Football performer would start against the Lions if Chubb is not activated by Saturday afternoon. In his third Browns season, Johnson is averaging 5.3 yards per carry.