The Cleveland Browns have signed Kareem Hunt, the star running back who waslast season after of him kicking a woman during an altercation.
In a statement, Browns general manager John Dorsey said the team made the decision to sign Hunt after conducting "extensive due diligence with many individuals, including clinical professionals, to have a better understanding of the person he is today and whether it was prudent to sign him."
"We fully understand and respect the complexity of questions and issues in signing a player with Kareem's history and do not condone his actions," Dorsey said, adding that the team believes Hunt "deserves a second chance but certainly with the understanding that he has to go through critical and essential steps to become a performing member of this organization."
In November, TMZ published security camera footage showing Hunt in a physical altercation with a woman outside his apartment in a Cleveland hotel in February 2018. The video showed Hunt pushing the woman before being restrained by his friends. The situation escalated once again when a man was pushed into another woman, who fell to the ground. Brown then kicked the woman as she was trying to get up.
Cleveland police arrived at the scene but declined to press charges. Shortly after the video emerged in November, Hunt was cut by the Chiefs, who said he had misled the team over what transpired. He was also placed on the NFL's "commissioner exemption list," effectively benching him until the NFL concluded its investigation.
Dorsey referenced the ongoing league investigation in Monday's statement announcing Hunt's free agent signing.
"We fully understand that Kareem is subject to discipline by the NFL. Here at the Browns, there is a detailed plan with expectations laid out that he understands and must follow, because any similar incident will not be tolerated," Dorsey said.
Hunt is entering his third year in the league and was widely concerned one of the best backs in the NFL, having led the league in rushing yards in his rookie season. In an interview with ESPN in December, Hunt took responsibility for his role in the fight and apologized.
"To be exact, it don't really matter what happened. I was in the wrong," Hunt said. "I could have took responsibility and made the right decision to find a way to de-escalate the situation."