Chiefs move on with­out Hunt

The Oklahoman (Sunday) - - SPORTS - BY DAVE SKRETTA AP Sports Writer

The Kansas City Chiefs on Sun­day will play their first game of the sea­son with­out star run­ning back Ka­reem Hunt, who was re­leased by the team on Fri­day.

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 a 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 both the Chiefs and Hunt is sim­ple: What's next?

The Chiefs (9-2) are bar­rel­ing 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 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.

The Chiefs are also con­fi­dent in their back­ups — for­mer Ok­la­homa star Damien Wil­liams and Dar­rel Wil­liams.

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, but were de­nied by the ho­tel and Cleve­land po­lice, a per­son fa­mil­iar with the case told The As­so­ci­ated Press, speak­ing on con­di­tion of anonymity be­cause of the on­go­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

Hunt is­sued a brief apol­ogy late Fri­day, a small first step to­ward get­ting an­other chance. But as the Chiefs get ready to play in Oak­land (2-9), Hunt will be watch­ing on tele­vi­sion.

There are many more steps be­fore Hunt takes the field again.

If it ever hap­pens.


Run­ning back Ka­reem Hunt, who was re­leased by the Chiefs on Fri­day, has 824 rush­ing yards and 14 to­tal touch­downs this sea­son.

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