The NFL has been beset by several challenges over the years including the issue of player safety, steroid use, and social justice protests, etc. Another problem that has refused to go away is the personal conduct of its stars. Many players have been caught up in domestic violence allegations which one contemporary case is that of Kareem Hunt. Hunt is a running back that was previously associated with the Kansas City Chiefs.
He only joined the NFL in the year 2017 and proceeded to record a brilliant debut season. This gained him several accolades, including a prestigious Pro-Bowl selection, and many tipped him to go on to do great things. That bright future, however, hangs in the balance after an assault video involving the player was made public in November 2018. The allegation now threatens a career that Hunt has worked at since childhood.
Kareem Hunt’s High School Football Career
Born Kareem AJ Hunt in Willoughby, Ohio in the United States, the running back was welcomed into the family of Stephanie Riggins and Kareem Hunt Sr. on the 6th of August 1995. He was raised alongside his brother, Clarence, and they spent their early years in the Willoughby neighborhood of Ohio. Kareem completed his basic education at South High School where he played football with the school’s team known as the Rebels.
During his career with the Rebels, Kareem recorded 39 touchdowns and 2,519 rushing yards in his junior year. He also scored 44 touchdowns and covered 2,685 yards in his last high school season. At the end of his career, the running back was given a three-star rating by Sports Illustrated. He also received multiple scholarship offers and chose to play for the University of Toledo.
His Record-breaking Run at the University of Toledo
Kareem saw action in twelve games in his first college season of 2013 and recorded 866 rushing yards, 137 receptions, and six touchdowns. He got more game time in his second year and returned an improved 16 touchdowns, 205 receptions, and 1,631 yards. The Ohio native also helped the Rockets to win the GoDaddy Bowl in 2015. He recorded five touchdowns and 271 yards in the Bowl game and this incredible contribution led to his being named the most valuable player of the tournament.
As a junior in 2015, Kareem Hunt had 12 touchdowns and rushed for 973 yards. In his senior year of 2016, he recorded 1,475 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns and received All-MAC First-team honors. Overall, Kareem Hunt finished his college career with a rushing yard of 4,945. This made him the highest rusher in Toledo’s history as well as the third all-time rusher in MAC conference history.
Emerging the NFL Rookie of the Year
The talented running back declared his intention of joining the 2017 NFL draft and went on to feature in the combine drills. During the drills, he finished the 40-yard dash in 4.62 seconds, 20-yard split in 2.67 seconds and three-cone drills in 7.22 seconds. He was thus projected to be a possible third-rounder. These predictions eventually came true as the Toledo alum was drafted 86th overall, and in the third round, by the Kansas City Chiefs. Kareem Hunt made his first appearance for the Chiefs during the 2017 preseason.
Following an injury to first-string running back, Spencer Ware, he was named the team’s starter and he made his first professional league appearance on the 7th of September 2017 against the New England Patriots. In the game, Hunt rushed for 246 yards and helped the Chiefs to seal a 42 – 27 win over the Patriots. His 246 yards subsequently made history as the highest ever in a debut game in the NFL. Hunt sustained this impressive form all season long and finished with a total of 1,327 yards. He emerged league leader in rushing yards and was named the PFWA Rookie of the Year. He also received Pro Bowl and All-Rookie Team selections.
Following this impressive debut season, Kareem Hunt proceeded for some much-deserved downtime and returned fully pumped up for his second professional season. This second season commenced on a good note as he recorded seven touchdowns, and rushed for 824 yards, in his first 11 games. He also earned AFC offensive player of the week honors and looked set to do greater things along the way. His surge was however halted after the Chiefs cut him from their team in week 12 following some disturbing allegations.
Falling From Grace to Grass
While the 2018 regular season was underway, TMZ released video footage showing Kareem Hunt assaulting a woman in a Cleveland hotel. The video was released on the 30th of November 2018 but the incident was said to have happened back in February that same year. In the clip, Hunt could be seen shoving a woman several times while some people try to restrict him. At some point, the woman stumbles and as she attempts to get up, the NFL star kicks her down.
As can be expected, these visuals caused a small uproar and Hunt was placed on the NFL commissioner’s exempt list, meaning that he could not feature in his team’s practices and league games. His Team, The Kansas City Chiefs, then released a statement acknowledging that they had been made aware of the incident when it occurred. They stated that they had questioned Hunt about it but he denied it all and as such, they kept him on. The franchise, therefore, decided that in the face of the video evidence, they would be cutting the player from their roster.
The NFL on its part also revealed that they had been informed of the incident at the time it occurred and had proceeded to investigate. Their investigations however stalled as all attempts to lay hands on the tapes failed. The video having come to light, the league decided that Hunt would be suspended for the first eight games of 2019 without pay. This was for violating their personal conduct policy.
Seeking Redemption and Revamping His Career
In the wake of the whole controversy, Kareem Hunt released a statement revealing that he deeply regretted his action and hoped to move on from it. The running back later appeared on an ESPN interview during which he begged for forgiveness from all and sundry. The player accepted that he was solely responsible for his downfall and promised that he would work his way back up.
Hunt is keeping to this promise for the time being. He has kept his nose clean and has avoided scandals. The player also signed with the Cleveland Browns in February 2019. He missed their first eight games of the season as a result of his suspension. He subsequently returned to the field for the remainder of the season and managed to record a decent output. This motivated the franchise to sign him on permanently and he is now the beneficiary of a contract worth $3.259 million.