Chiefs set for Oakland game, but what’s next for their star RB?
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 was preparing for Sunday’s game at Oakland when, unbeknownst to him, 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 video from TMZ ripped 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 question now for the Chiefs and Hunt is simple: What’s next?
The Chiefs (9-2) are barreling toward the No. 1 seed in the AFC playoffs, and the loss of their leading rusher is substantial. Hunt ran for more than 800 yards and had 14 total touchdowns, helping Kansas City form one of the league’s most dynamic offenses.
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 preseason 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.”
So that is what’s next for the Chiefs. What happens to Hunt?
The Chiefs and the NFL knew what happened in February in Cleveland, and the organization spoke to Hunt on several occasions before handling discipline internally. But neither the team nor the league had seen the video before it became public Friday.
The NFL made multiple attempts to obtain it, a person familiar with the case told The Associated Press, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the ongoing investigation. The hotel informed the league that corporate policy allowed the video to be given only to law enforcement.
Hunt remains on the commissioner’s exempt list, which means he can’t play or attend games while the NFL investigates. But as was the case when the Redskins signed linebacker Reuben Foster, who was cut by the 49ers last week after he was arrested on suspicion of domestic violence, the list does not prevent another team from taking a chance on a potential superstar.
Hunt issued a brief apology late Friday, a small first step toward getting another chance.