Browns GM John Dorsey says Kareem Hunt will be on zero-tolerance policy

Dorsey believes Hunt deserves second chance, has shown remorse for “egregious” act

Daryl Ruiter
February 11, 2019 - 7:26 pm
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Berea, OH (92.3 The Fan) – John Dorsey believes in second chances and he is giving Kareem Hunt the ultimate second chance with the Cleveland Browns.

But it comes with a big stipulation: a zero-tolerance policy.

“We have two separate things here. We have the egregious act and we have the football player,” Dorsey said Monday. “Now what you have to do is take that person, and if the person is truly remorseful and he owns up to his mistake, he seeks to be a better man, I’m okay with a guy trying to get better.

“You guys always hear me talk about men of character. I’ll stand by that. I see a lot of men of character who commit egregious acts, but at the end of the day, they learn from those acts, moved forward and became better people. Again, I believe in second chances.”

For Dorsey, the ends justify the means.

And the means were approved by Browns owners Jimmy and Dee Haslam, who signed off on Hunt’s addition.

“This organization has always prided itself on being very collaborative in terms of how we go about making decisions,” Dorsey said. “After we brought our findings to ownership and we gave them the suggestions moving forward, they approved the suggestions that we made and here we are.”  

The Browns did an extensive investigation into Hunt as well as the incident that took place last February at The 9 in downtown Cleveland, the video of which went public on Nov. 30, 2018 and led to his release by the Chiefs after he was seen hitting and kicking a woman during a hallway altercation.

Hunt lied to the Chiefs about what took place in those early morning moments, which in addition to the video made his release an easy decision and that dishonesty came up in conversations with Hunt prior to his signing him.

“He was forthright about the lie that he told,” Dorsey said.

In their investigation of that incident, Dorsey said that he did not speak with the victim, but their findings ultimately made them comfortable enough to sign Hunt, who led the NFL in rushing with 1,327 yards as a rookie in 2017.

“I felt there was remorse, and I’ll stand by it,” Dorsey said. “He understands the magnitude of his actions. There is nothing guaranteed here. I keep saying that. Again, he has to earn the trust of everybody within this organization and the city of Cleveland. I think he’s man enough to do that.”

Hunt missed the final 5 games of the 2018 season following his release, and further discipline from the NFL is expected once their investigation into Hunt’s off the field behavior concludes.

“I don’t have any indication of how the league is going to act on this penalty,” Dorsey said.

Since December, Hunt has undergone regular counseling according to Dorsey and will continue with that program going forward in addition to other measures and stipulations that the team has put in place when they signed him.

“It was on his own personal volition he went and sought that,” Dorsey said.

Dorsey selected Hunt in the third round of the 2017 draft and the Willoughby South High School and Toledo product wasted little time showing the league what a dynamic player he is on the field.

Over 27 games, Hunt has tallied 2,151 yards on the ground, a 4.7 yards per carry average to go with 15 touchdowns while adding 79 catches for 833 yards and 10 more TDs.

Dorsey acknowledged that the Browns will take a PR hit for the signing, but it clearly isn’t affecting business. While reporters spoke to Dorsey, the bell that rings to signify ticket sales rang multiple times Monday afternoon.

“We probably will [take a PR hit], but, at the end of the day, there's nothing guaranteed,” Dorsey said. “He's got to earn the trust of everybody in this organization and this community.”

The NFL is investigating a total of three incidents involving Hunt, including the one last February, but Dorsey did not see their findings as problematic.

“We did our investigation with those other instances and, again, we're at this conclusion today, we feel comfortable moving forward,” Dorsey said.

As for the video, Dorsey was clear.

He did not downplay what was viewed by the world or the seriousness of Hunt’s actions – provoked or not, but he is hopeful that the Browns will be able to provide Hunt with an environment that will enable him to put it behind him and never repeat it again.

“I think we're all appalled by it. It is an egregious act. We all understand that,” Dorsey said. “But after doing our research, extensive research, analyzing the situation, we came to the conclusion that, you know what, I am willing to help a man from a second chance moving forward to be a better person, and that's all you can ask for in society, and that's all I'm trying to do.”

Dorsey believes that Hunt can repair his shattered reputation.

“I think if he begins to follow the plan that we laid out on a day-to-day basis, then he begins to not only earn the respect of the people within the Cleveland Browns organization, he begins to gain the respect of the people in the community,” Dorsey said. “Why not make suggestions to him to go out in the community, get involved within your community, because who is the community of Cleveland but the people that live there, so why not interact with the people of Cleveland and begin to show them that, you know what, Kareem Hunt's not as bad as everybody makes him out to be.”