Browns running back Kareem Hunt has 'mixed emotions' ahead of his return from suspension
Hunt is eligible to play this week after serving his eight-game suspension
Cleveland Browns running back Kareem Hunt will see his first NFL action in almost a year in Week 10 when the Browns host the Buffalo Bills. The Pro Bowl running back was released by the Kansas City Chiefs last year after a video surfaced of him kicking and shoving a woman in November.
The Browns claimed Hunt in February, but the NFL waited until March to hand down its eight-game suspension for violating the league's personal conduct policy. The suspension had to do with three separate off-field incidents: A fight in a Kansas City bar, an altercation with a man in the Lake Erie island town of Put-in-Bay, Ohio, and then the altercation with the woman outside of his hotel apartment in Cleveland. Naturally, Hunt is experiencing a wide range of emotions as he prepares for his return to the field, and he opened up about that to reporters on Thursday.
"Like, 342 days," Hunt said, via Cleveland.com. "Three-hundred-forty-two days. I've been counting down. I'm just excited. A lot of mixed emotions, high and low. It's going to be a very fun, emotional game, and I'm definitely going to be excited to get out there and do whatever I can to play the role and help this team win."
Coach Freddie Kitchens has already said thatin his first game with the Browns and that he's "very much looking forward" to Hunt's debut. Hunt has attended counseling sessions, anger management classes and alcohol awareness sessions over the past year, and understands that another slip up could cost him his career.
"I'm under a microscope," Hunt said. "And like I said, I'm not trying to put anything in jeopardy at 342 days. I had a lot of time to think about, 'if I get in this situation how I'm going to handle this,' 'if I get in this situation, how am I going to handle that,' 'this happened, how am I going to handle that.' You get a lot of time to really reflect and think about those things, and then you get a lot of time to (determine) what you could've done better and things like that. So I'm good with it."
Hunt was in the midst of another Pro Bowl campaign with the Chiefs when his world quickly changed. He had racked up 1,202 yards from scrimmage and 14 touchdowns in 11 games before being released, and the last year has given him a new appreciation for the game.
"Honestly, it means so much to me and I just really appreciate the fact that I get to go out and do this every day and it made me appreciate it even more, waking up every morning and coming to work," Hunt said. "Even though there were days when I didn't like doing it, but now it's just, 'Yeah, I get to go to work again today' and now it's just a great feeling to be able to come here and train and put the grind in."
The 2-6 Browns have been a major disappointment this season, and while Nick Chubb has been great, the addition of Hunt gives Cleveland a versatile weapon who can help turn things around in a hurry.
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