Kareem Hunt goes unclaimed on waivers, becomes a free agent

Each NFL front office outside of Kansas City had less than 72 hours to have a conversation about whether to put in a waiver claim on Kareem Hunt.

Hunt, who led the NFL in rushing yards as a rookie last season with the Kansas City Chiefs, was released after TMZ released a video on Friday of him shoving and kicking a woman at a Cleveland hotel back in February. As a player with less than four years in the NFL, Hunt had to pass through waivers before becoming a free agent. Any team could claim him.

However, Hunt went unclaimed before the 4 p.m. Eastern deadline on Monday, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter. The former Chiefs back becomes a free agent, though he was put on the commissioner exempt list — Lindsay Jones of The Athletic explained he will technically not be on that list if he clears waivers, but will go back on it if he’s signed before any suspension is announced. Hunt is unable to play or practice with a team as long as he’s on the commissioner exempt list and it’s hard to imagine he’d be eligible to play at any point over the rest of this season.

Running back Kareem Hunt (27) was cut by the Chiefs last week after a video was published of him shoving and kicking a woman. (AP)
Running back Kareem Hunt (27) was cut by the Chiefs last week after a video was published of him shoving and kicking a woman. (AP)

Kareem Hunt had to go through waivers

The thought of a player as talented as Hunt, in just his second season, being on waivers would have seemed crazy before last Friday.

But after TMZ released the video and the Chiefs cut Hunt, saying he had lied to them about what happened that night in Cleveland back in February, Hunt was available to any team in the league. The claiming order goes by reverse order of record. Teams would take on Hunt’s contract, which is cheap as a 2017 third-round pick. In terms of just football, grabbing Hunt would be a boon for any team.

Of course, this wasn’t just about football. A week earlier, the Washington Redskins were criticized heavily for claiming linebacker Reuben Foster after the San Francisco 49ers cut him following an arrest on an accusation of domestic violence. Hunt was probably an even larger story, in part because his incident was on video for everyone to see. Teams had to factor in the backlash toward the Redskins over Foster when they discussed whether to claim Hunt.

Any team that thought about claiming Hunt, who just turned 23 in August and was on a four-year, $3.3 million contract, also had to wonder if the outcry would be worth it.

Hunt ‘disappointed and embarrassed’

Hunt started trying to rehabilitate his image right away. He told ESPN in an interview that aired on Sunday morning that he was “disappointed and embarrassed” by what he did. He said he was sorry.

Apparently that wasn’t enough for a team to take a chance on him. Hunt will likely get a second chance at some point, but it might take a while. Perhaps it won’t happen until the NFL decides what punishment Hunt will get.

Whatever the reason, teams didn’t feel comfortable enough claiming Hunt just a few days after the TMZ video made Hunt infamous in NFL circles.

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Frank Schwab is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at shutdown.corner@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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