Browns RB Kareem Hunt receives eight-game suspension from NFL

New Cleveland Browns running back Kareem Hunt reportedly will be suspended eight games in the 2019 season for violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy, the league announced Friday.

Hunt was a member of the Kansas City Chiefs when a video surfaced of him shoving and kicking a woman in Cleveland last winter. The team released him.

The Browns signed Hunt on a one-year deal this offseason without knowing what type of discipline he might face.

The NFL had waited to finish its investigation of that incident — along with a separate reported situation involving Hunt in which he allegedly punched a man in the face at an Ohio resort last June — before assessing his punishment.

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Kansas City Chiefs running back Kareem Hunt (27) carries the ball during the first half of an NFL football game against the Oakland Raiders in Kansas City, Mo., Sunday, Dec. 10, 2017. (AP Photo/Ed Zurga)
NFL football player Kareem Hunt, of the Kansas City Chiefs arrives at the ESPY Awards at the Microsoft Theater on Wednesday, July 18, 2018, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Willy Sanjuan/Invision/AP)
FILE - In this Oct. 7, 2018 file photo Kansas City Chiefs running back Kareem Hunt (27) celebrates his touchdown against the Jacksonville Jaguars with quarterback Patrick Mahomes (15) during the second half of an NFL football game in Kansas City, Mo. The Cincinnati Bengals bring one of the NFL’s worst defenses to Arrowhead Stadium on Sunday, Oct. 21, 2018 to face the Chiefs. They also bring an ailing defense, and that should only make it tougher to slow down Patrick Mahomes and Co. The Bengals are coming off a loss to Pittsburgh while Kansas City lost for the first time last week in New England (AP Photo/Ed Zurga)
Kansas City Chiefs running back Kareem Hunt walks to the practice field during NFL football training camp in St. Joseph, Mo., Tuesday, July 25, 2017. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)
Kansas City Chiefs running back Kareem Hunt (27) celebrates with fans after an NFL football game against the San Francisco 49ers, Sunday, Sept. 23, 2018, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
Toledo running back Kareem Hunt reacts after a 32-27 loss to Northern Illinois in an NCAA college football game Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2015, in Toledo, Ohio. (AP Photo/David Richard)
Kansas City Chiefs' Kareem Hunt catches a touchdown pass during the first half of a preseason NFL football game against the Chicago Bears Saturday, Aug. 25, 2018, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Matt Marton)
Kansas City Chiefs running back Kareem Hunt (27) carries the ball during the first half of an NFL football game against the Miami Dolphins in Kansas City, Mo., Sunday, Dec. 24, 2017. (AP Photo/Ed Zurga)
Kareem Hunt during the Kansas City Chiefs at Dallas Cowboys NFL football game on Sunday, Nov. 5, 2017, in Arlington, Texas. (Michael Ainsworth/AP Images for Head & Shoulders)
Toledo head coach Matt Campbell, right, talks with running back Kareem Hunt after a 38-7 win over Kent State in an NCAA college football game Saturday, Oct. 10, 2015, in Toledo, Ohio. (AP Photo/David Richard)
FILE - In this Sept. 24, 2017, file photo, Kansas City Chiefs running back Kareem Hunt, right, runs for a touchdown against the Los Angeles Chargers during the second half of an NFL football game in Carson, Calif. Hunt was the AFC offensive player of the month after he led the league with 401 yards rushing, caught nine passes for 137 yards and reached the end zone five times. The Chiefs face the Washington Redskins this week. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)
Toledo Rockets running back Kareem Hunt (3) runs with the ball in the third quarter of a 49-24 loss to the Missouri Tigers in an NCAA college football game in Toledo, Ohio, Saturday, Sept. 6, 2014. (AP Photo/David Richard)
Kansas City Chiefs running back Kareem Hunt (27) eludes New England Patriots cornerback Malcolm Butler (21) as he crosses the goal line for a touchdown after catching a pass from Alex Smith during the second half of an NFL football game, Thursday, Sept. 7, 2017, in Foxborough, Mass. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
FILE - In this Thursday, Sept. 7, 2017, file photo, Kansas City Chiefs running back Kareem Hunt (27) eludes New England Patriots defensive end Cassius Marsh (55) as he runs for a touchdown after catching a pass from Alex Smith during the second half of an NFL football game in Foxborough, Mass. Of 266 rookies on active rosters in Week 1, 33 started and 13 more played at least half the snaps. Linebackers and running backs led the way with a combined total of 15 guys, including Kareem Hunt, Leonard Fournette and T.J. Watt. (AP Photo/Steven Senne, File)
North squad running back Kareem Hunt of Toledo (33) carries the ball during the second half of the Senior Bowl NCAA college football game, Saturday, Jan. 28, 2017, at Ladd-Peebles Stadium in Mobile, Ala. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)
Toledo running back Kareem Hunt celebrates his 6-yard rushing touchdown against Northern Illinois during the first quarter of an NCAA college football game Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2015, in Toledo, Ohio. (AP Photo/David Richard)
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Why eight games?

Hunt sat out the final five games of the 2018 regular season after the Chiefs cut him, although the clock for times served on suspensions does not begin when a player is placed on the NFL’s Reserve/Commissioner Exempt List, as Hunt was when the video surfaced.

The NFL has a baseline punishment of six games under the personal conduct policy for incidents involving violence, although there have been notable exceptions where suspensions have fallen below this mark. However, with the serious nature of Hunt’s incident that was caught on video, along with the other allegations, the NFL was smart to go above the standard discipline.

It’s not clear if Hunt admitted wrongdoing or how much contrition he showed to the league and whether that had any effect on the length of his suspension.

The Chiefs released Hunt after they found him to be dishonest about the incident involving the kicking and shoving of the woman. Later, he issued a statement with an apology, saying: "I deeply regret what I did. I hope to move on from this."

The NFL reportedly had trouble making contact with the victims in the case, which might have complicated their investigation.

The league’s last eight-game suspension is believed to be for former Rams safety T.J. McDonald, who was arrested in May 2017 after he was suspected of driving under the influence of prescription drugs and pleaded no contest earlier that year to a charge of "wet reckless" — which in essence is a reduced form of a DUI charge.

What it means for the Browns

The team knew Hunt was facing significant discipline when it signed him to a one-year, $1.1 million deal, which carried a base salary of $645,000, a roster bonus of $275,000 and a workout bonus of $55,000. Now that the suspension has been handed down, Hunt will forfeit $503,529 of his 2019 pay with the Browns.

They have Nick Chubb as the team’s featured back and reportedly will listen to trade offers for Duke Johnson, who was their best pass-catching runner last year. But doing so might be risky considering that Hunt is likely on a one-strike-and-you’re-out trial with his new team.

The Browns have had a banner offseason, acquiring Odell Beckham Jr. and a slew of other talent, making this one of the more anticipated seasons in recent memory. But the Hunt discipline tamped down that enthusiasm just a bit on Friday.

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