Several teams had serious internal conversations about claiming Kareem Hunt on waivers last week, but no NFL owner ultimately signed off on doing so. However, league sources indicated that numerous teams remain in contact with the running back as he undergoes counseling and awaits discipline for shoving and kicking a woman outside his Cleveland residence in February.
Hunt, 23, was released by the Chiefs shortly after video emerged of the incident a week ago and remains a free agent. Team and league sources anticipate that, at this point, no club will sign him until the NFL announces what Hunt's suspension for 2019 will be; there is no timetable for that investigation to occur and at this point a formal interview with the player has yet to be scheduled, sources said. Hunt, whose involvement in two other altercations is also under review by the league, will continue with an intensive therapy program into the offseason while the league determines his status, according to a source with knowledge of the situation.
Hunt meets regularly with a counselor for guidance with anger management and about his use of alcohol, while also being mentored by a pastor and attending women's group sessions to continue educating himself on his behavior and its consequences. The approach to Hunt's mental health is comprehensive and will continue indefinitely, I'm told, and in the coming weeks he will also resume his physical training to be as close to game shape as possible for any teams that may want to work him out or meet with him next year.
The NFL has talked to Hunt about an incident that took place in June, sources said, but did not interview Hunt about the February incident where he struck a female who he and his friends claim refused to leave the apartment and hallway outside of a residence he had just moved into that day. To this point, only a small segment of what sources said is a 90-minute or more surveillance tape has been released to the public by TMZ, but numerous parties are attempting to gain access to the entire video to get more clarity and context on the events of that evening. Hunt expressed regret over his actions and apologized in an interview with ESPN last week, what is expected to be his lone public appearance while the NFL's renewed investigation is ongoing.
Several teams have reached out to him since he cleared waivers and are expected to continue to monitor his progress and recovery this offseason. Several NFL decision-makers I spoke to this week reiterated that they fully expect the running back to be back on the field in 2019, assuming there are no other incidents or discoveries about his actions. Hunt is seen as a dynamic talent in the running and passing game, and he will come at a bargain rate for whichever team signs him given his situation.
Sources said he is eager to speak with NFL officials and do whatever he can to aid the investigation, though it often takes months before the league moves forward with his determination of discipline, and there is no expectation that this situation will be any different. Hunt led the NFL in rushing yards as a rookie in 2017 and had 14 combined touchdowns (seven rushing and seven receiving) through 11 games in 2018 prior to his release by Kansas City.