Chiefs set for Oakland game after Kareem Hunt fiasco
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.