Chiefs set for Oak­land game af­ter Ka­reem Hunt fi­asco

Sunday Sports - - SPORTS - DAVE SKRETTA

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Ka­reem Hunt went from the Kansas City Chiefs’ prac­tice field to look­ing for a job in about six hours, a spec­tac­u­lar fall for the NFL’s reign­ing rush­ing cham­pion.

The Pro Bowl run­ning back had been pre­par­ing for Sun­day’s game at Oak­land when a months-old video sur­faced on­line. The footage from a Cleve­land ho­tel se­cu­rity cam­era showed Hunt shov­ing and kick­ing a woman, with po­lice ul­ti­mately re­spond­ing. No charges were filed.

The Chiefs im­me­di­ately sent Hunt home as the TMZ video rip­pled across so­cial me­dia. An or­ga­ni­za­tion that prides it­self on pro­vid­ing sec­ond chances said in a state­ment late Fri­day it had re­leased the 23-year-old star. The team was trav­el­ling Sat­ur­day.

The NFL had no com­ment Fri­day night beyond say­ing Hunt was on the com­mis­sioner’s ex­empt list, mean­ing he can’t play or at­tend games while the league in­ves­ti­gates.

The ques­tion now for both the Chiefs and Hunt is sim­ple: What’s next?

The Chiefs (9-2) are bar­relling to­ward the No. 1 seed in the play­offs, and the loss of their lead­ing rusher is sub­stan­tial. Hunt al­ready had run for more than 800 yards and had 14 to­tal touch­downs, help­ing Kansas City form one of the league’s most dy­namic of­fences.

His abil­ity to churn out yards on the ground helped the Chiefs put away sev­eral games. His abil­ity to catch passes out of the back­field had been just as use­ful.

Yet the falloff to Spencer Ware isn’t that sig­nif­i­cant.

The Chiefs’ backup was the un­ques­tioned starter head­ing into last sea­son, even af­ter the team made Hunt their third-round pick. It wasn’t un­til Ware — whose skill set closely mir­rors that of Hunt — went down with a sea­son-end­ing knee in­jury in the pre-sea­son that the rookie took over.

“There was a ques­tion whether he would be able to come back from that in­jury. It was a pretty tough in­jury to come back from,” Chiefs coach Andy Reid said re­cently. “The last cou­ple weeks he has played good foot­ball. You can see where he is more con­fi­dent each week here.”

The Chiefs are also con­fi­dent in back­ups Damien Wil­liams and Dar­rel Wil­liams. And with a soft sched­ule down the stretch, in­clud­ing two games against the Raiders, there is plenty of time for their of­fence to ad­just to life with­out Hunt in the back­field.

So that is what’s next for the Chiefs. What hap­pens to Hunt is to­tally up in the air.

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