The Cleveland Browns quickly denied Kareem Hunt’s trade request and the running back responded by ending his brief “hold-in” in Sunday practice.
Hunt had stayed away from team drills during training camp in a bid to get ‘paid or traded’ by Josina Anderson of CBS Sports. Hunt asked the Browns for a trade but was denied, according to Cleveland.com.
Following the shutdown of his trade hopes, Hunt was spotted at the training ground on Sunday taking part in team drills, ending his “hold-in”. By Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com:
“Hunt, who stood on the sidelines for the first part of practice, participated in individual drills and then rushed onto the field for the first period 11v11, replacing Nick Chubb for the second representative. On the fourth snap, he caught a screen pass from Deshaun Watson and rumbled down the right side.
So for now, Hunt is back and ready to work as the Browns prepare for their opener against the Panthers on Sept. 11.
The Browns have played hard with trade demands before under general manager Andrew Berry. They hung on to tight end David Njoku when he wanted out – which ended up being the best result for both sides – and weren’t planning to trade quarterback Baker Mayfield after he asked for a trade this offseason before landing Deshaun Watson.
Stefanski: ‘If our players are healthy, they train’
Browns coach Kevin Stefanski was asked about the situation with Hunt before practice on Sunday but didn’t reveal too much, giving an answer on the mark.
“I think you know me well enough that I don’t go into anything about our players, the conversations I have with our players and that kind of stuff,” Stefanski told reporters Aug. 7.
He added: “If our players are healthy, they train.” The Browns were able to fine Hunt for missing practice portions.
It was a pretty dramatic camp for the Browns, with Hunt’s situation being just the latest for the team. Deshaun Watson’s suspension also loomed large, with the QB handed a six-game ban, which the NFL has now appealed. Stefanski does his best to keep his team locked down.
“I would say to you, respectfully, that we really focus on what we can control. I understand there are things going on that definitely get attention, and that’s okay,” Stefanski told reporters. “For us, we’re really focused on trying to improve. We’re not where we need to be. and we have a lot of work to do. That’s what we’re focusing on.
Kareem Hunt will probably have to be patient for Payday
It looks like Hunt will have to wait to enjoy a contract extension, which will likely be reviewed after the season if the Browns see him produce a healthy and productive year. Hunt is coming off a season in which he missed nine games with ankle and calf injuries, as well as a stint on the COVID-19 roster. Hunt said this offseason he was completely healed from the tough campaign.
“I’m fine, I’m 100%. I have some time to heal this offseason and get back to it,” Hunt said during his youth football camp, via Cleveland.com’s Ashley Bastock. “So the body feels good, nothing bothers me.”
Although talented, Hunt doesn’t carry much weight in the situation. The former rushing leader was limited to 78 carries for 386 yards last season. He also sits behind Nick Chubb on the depth chart. Chubb has hit the 1,000 yard mark in each of the past three seasons.
The Browns also have a more than capable rusher behind Hunt in D’Ernest Johnson, who is coming off a stellar year in which he rushed for 534 yards on 100 carries with a trio of touchdowns. Another weapon the Browns have at their disposal is rookie Jerome Ford. Ford was selected in the fifth round of Cincinnati. He finished with 1,242 rushing yards, 19 rushing touchdowns and 20 total touchdowns in his final season with the Bearcats.
“Excited about this room. A ton of talent. We have veterans. We have young guys,” Stefanski said. “They work very hard and they will continue to do so.”
Hunt’s drama appears to be on hold at the moment, but we’ll see if he prepares for the Browns’ preseason opener on Friday against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
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