Welcome Home! Kareem Hunt returns to the Browns
With the tragedy that unfolded for the Cleveland Browns on Monday night with the loss of their running back Nick Chubb to a season-ending knee injury, the team didn’t have to look far in finding his replacement when they signed Kareem Hunt on Wednesday to a one year deal worth up to $4 million dollars. The former Browns running back became a free agent this spring and hadn’t found a new home until now. The native Clevelander spent four seasons with the team in the past and this reunion has come at a very needy time for the squad.
Browns fans across the globe have been grieving the monumental loss of Chubb, who was the heart and soul of the team. However, the signing of Hunt can at least help in the fan’s grieving process as Hunt brings back a very familiar face. During their previous time together Hunt and Chubb were considered “Fire” and “Ice” in terms of their playing styles. Chubb was “Ice” because of his cool and quiet demeanor while Hunt was thought of as “Fire” because he played the game with a lot of emotion.
There will be no “Ice” the rest of the season, but maybe the “Fire” can be there for the Browns and help them first regain their composure after a terrible performance against the Steelers and then help them gain momentum toward a postseason berth.
The #Browns are signing their own former RB Kareem Hunt, agreeing to terms with him on a 1-year deal worth up to $4M. After a multi-stop journey, he lands back home. On a visit yesterday, he now can help the team deal with the loss of star Nick Chubb. pic.twitter.com/yxqv9VC8WD
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) September 20, 2023
Hunt had many highlights in his time with the team. His best season in Cleveland was probably the 2020 campaign where he rushed for 841 yards that included six touchdowns. He also caught 38 passes that season for 304 yards and added five more touchdowns.
Since that magical season for Hunt and the Browns where they made the playoffs and destroyed the Steelers in a game at Pittsburgh, Hunt and the team have slowed down a lot. Cleveland has registered two sub .500 seasons since and Hunt’s numbers have dramatically fallen.
In 2021, Hunt got injured and only played in eight games. He finished that season, rushing for 386 yards. Then last season he seemed to run significantly slower and rushed for 468 yards. The 3.8 yards a carry was much less than normal for Hunt and there was a lot of chatter about what exactly Hunt had left in the tank. So, he wasn’t resigned by the team and many thought we had seen the last of Hunt in a Cleveland uniform.
Both Chubb and Hunt openly talked about how they were good friends in the past and Chubb himself campaigned publicly to resign Hunt going back a year ago. But the Browns organization ignored those attempts and I’m certain that didn’t make Chubb very happy. So now that Chubb has been seriously injured the fact that Hunt has returned to replace Chubb is too odd to not point out.
The Browns have said they will continue to use second-year player Jerome Ford as their primary back and use Hunt in that third-down role and on passing downs. Ford made the most of the situation back on Monday and carried the ball 16 times for 106 yards. The big run in that mix was a 69-yard burst that got his team down to the 1-yard line.
It will be an interesting storyline to follow this season for Cleveland how the run game performs. The Browns have relied on Chubb to carry the load over the past six years and he always gave his team a chance at victory because he was such a dynamic running back. That part of his game can’t be replaced by Ford or Hunt but hopefully, they can do enough to not make the blow of losing Chubb for the season not as tough as we have all initially thought this week.