Kareem Hunt suspended eight games by NFL, can return for second half of Browns' 2019 season

The Cleveland Browns made many big moves this offseason, including signing controversial running back Kareem Hunt to a one-year contract. They will only get Hunt for half of those games, as the NFL announced on Friday that Hunt would receive an eight-game suspension for his off-field actions, including a violent incident at a hotel that was captured on video and led to his release from the Chiefs in the middle of the season last year.

Hunt will not appeal the punishment handed down by the league, advising the NFL "he accepts responsibility for his conduct and the discipline that has been imposed."

"I want to again apologize for my actions last year. 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," Hunt said in a statement issued by the Browns. "I'm grateful for my time with the Browns over the last month and thankful to all the people in the organization that have welcomed 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 hard work ahead of me before I'm able to fully return to playing the game I love."

The punishment handed out by the NFL includes not only Hunt's actions at the Cleveland hotel where he was living in February of 2018, but also stems from a separate physical altercation "at a resort in Ohio last June."

Hunt was placed on the Commissioner's Exempt List in November of 2018 after video was released publicly of Hunt assaulting a woman in a hotel hallway back in February of 2018. Within just a few hours, Hunt was released by the Chiefs.

Hunt would speak out publicly and apologize for his actions, but has remained a free agent since he was released. The Browns expected that Hunt would receive between an eight and 10-game suspension when they signed him, according to a report from NFL Media.

GM John Dorsey, who drafted Hunt in Kansas City, cited his long "relationship and interaction" with the running back as part of the reason why the team signed him.

"My relationship and interaction with Kareem since 2016 in college was an important part of this decision-making process but we then did extensive due diligence with many individuals, including clinical professionals, to have a better understanding of the person he is today and whether it was prudent to sign him," Dorsey said. "There were two important factors: one is that Kareem took full responsibility for his egregious actions and showed true remorse and secondly, just as importantly, he is undergoing and is committed to necessary professional treatment and a plan that has been clearly laid out."

The Browns have had a big offseason, signing Hunt and trading for Odell Beckham, Jr. Expectations for Cleveland's season have shot through the roof, with the Browns moving to 14-1 in terms of Super Bowl odds, a preposterously high number for a team with eight total wins over the last three years. 

Hunt's suspension likely snuffs out any possible Duke Johnson trade rumors. Nick Chubb is the clear leader in terms getting carries out of the backfield for Cleveland. Hunt can return for the Browns ninth game of the season, which will be determined once the league's schedule is released within the next month or so.

CBS Sports Senior Writer

Will Brinson joined CBS Sports in 2010 and enters his seventh season covering the NFL for CBS. He previously wrote for FanHouse along with myriad other Internet sites. A North Carolina native who lives... Full Bio

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