Cleveland Browns running back Kareem Hunt has spent the last five seasons of his career with his hometown team. After not being able to find a team throughout the offseason, Hunt returned to Cleveland following the injury to star running back, Nick Chubb.
Chubb suffered a season-ending knee injury in Week 2 against the Pittsburgh Steelers, leaving the Browns short-handed in their backfield. Looking to fill the void, they turned to a familiar face and brought Hunt back.
He had a nose for the end zone, rushing for nine touchdowns this season, but he wasn’t overly productive. On 153 carries, Hunt gained only 411 yards, for an ugly 3.0 yards per carry average. Known for his work in the passing game previously, Hunt hauled in only 15 receptions for only 84 yards, both career lows.
Despite the paltry production, Hunt made a bold statement about his future with the franchise. “I’m not going nowhere,” Hunt said, per Associated Press reporter Tom Withers as he and his teammates cleaned out their lockers following the Browns’ 45-14 loss to the Houston Texans on Saturday.
While that sounds like a confirmation that Hunt is planning on returning to the Browns, it takes two to tango. They need to want him back as much as he would like to return to the team.
Will the Browns want to retain him? Hunt will be a free agent again after signing a one-year deal in the wake of Chubb’s injury. While the statement he provided indicates one thing, Hunt did admit that he will evaluate his options. But, Cleveland is where he wants to be should he have his choice.
“If the opportunity presents itself and it’s right here, then I wouldn’t be opposed to coming back. It’s my hometown and I want to do nothing but help them win the Super Bowl,” Hunt said. “It’s my ultimate hope no matter what, even if I’m playing for another team or anything, I would always be happy and satisfied if they bring a championship to Cleveland, it’s my hometown. Shoot, I’d probably be at the parade cheering them on too, if that was to happen. I wish nothing but the best for the organization and the Cleveland Browns and I’m happy that I got to be a part of this journey for so long.”
It will be interesting to see how things shake out in the Browns’ backfield during the 2024 offseason. Without Chubb, the group wasn’t nearly as productive, but they were able to get the job done enough, finishing in the top half of the NFL in yardage.
However, after not bringing Hunt back last offseason, it will be worth keeping an eye on how his market develops this time around. No longer a bell-cow running back, Hunt could have to wait for an injury to clear the way for a roster spot once again before his number is called.