If The Bears Really Want Kareem Hunt, They Need To Just Go Get Him, Now!
by Trey Fraser
How's everyone doing out there? I'm back on my blog bag with some thoughts regarding a tough subject me and Maestro Styles discussed on our podcast the other day (Check out episode #159 for further reference).
Prior to the start of doing episode #159, I learned that the Chicago Bears expressed an interest in bringing in former KC Chiefs running back Kareem Hunt to their roster. Hunt, who's famously known for the recent controversial video of him striking and kicking a female in a Cleveland hotel lobby, has been sitting idle after being released by the Chiefs due to the release of the video. Me and Maestro did an IG Live video prior to our podcast to discuss this somewhat breaking news (at least to me) of the Bears' interest in Hunt. Without knowing any additional details to the story because we were pressed for time, my initial reaction was I thought it was a good thing that Kareem Hunt was connected to a possibility of being on a roster only for "football" reasons. Maestro's reaction to it was that it was too soon for any franchise to entertain Kareem Hunt without knowing if any pending charges/court cases or punishment was abound.
Let me first say this before I talk what I really wanna talk about: what Kareem Hunt did to that female in that video was terrible and uncalled for. Men should never put their hands on a woman. Hell, no one should put hands on anybody regardless of gender. Kareem Hunt should absorb any and all forms of punishment for this.
Having had some time to process the story of Hunt and the Bears, I did some digging on this to find out what the status of Hunt was, and here's what I found out per SB Nation:
- I was reminded that the incident in the video took place almost a year ago (February 2018 to be exact).
- At the time of the incident, no arrests or charges were made, but police reports were filed. Despite this, it remains to be seen if any new charges arise due to the release of evidence on the video. The video was released back around the end of November 2018.
- Hunt is currently in counseling for alcohol use and anger management per the NFL Network.
- Prior to the Bears' recent press conference, coach Matt Nagy and QB Mitch Trubisky have been privately in contact with Hunt discussing life and not football.
I may piss some people off with this take, and again, if you feel like Kareem Hunt should never set foot on an NFL field again and should take all the smoke he's getting and more, I'm fine with that. The reality is this y'all: We're one step closer possibly to "talent trumping video". Allow me to explain.
When the Ray Rice video came out back in 2014, it set a precedent in a sense that video became the kiss of death for athletes ever playing their professed sport again. The narrative back then was that video matters and it's the difference between guys ever playing again and guys like Adrian Peterson, Greg Hardy, Ray McDonald, whom were also in the news at the time for domestic disputes, getting opportunities to continue playing football. Why? Because their alleged activities weren't caught on video, despite photos of evidence surfacing the web. The other question that floated out there back then was whether Ray Rice was worth the risk of playing for another team amidst the countrywide controversy. And it turns out that Ray Rice was a "7th year running back coming off of a down year and his prime as a RB had passed him by". Ray Rice never saw the field again. Nonetheless, his video mattered.
Four years later, the Kareem Hunt video comes out and the same narrative is said of Hunt, that his NFL career is over because video matters. But hold up, if we questioned if Rice would ever play again, we have to ask the same of Hunt, right? Turns out, Hunt was in the middle of his sophomore year as a Top-5 running back with his prime approaching. That lead me to believe a little over a month ago that some NFL franchise would give Kareem Hunt a second shot at this NFL life.
And that's where the Chicago Bears come in (sorry it took long to finally get to them in this blog).
I mean, why would the Bears dare entertain the idea of bringing on Kareem Hunt to their roster? I would bet that if they wanted no parts of Kareem Hunt, they would've said so in response to a reporter's bait question about Hunt. But they chose to leave the door open for the possibility, even knowing what it would mean for their franchise PR-wise. Quite frankly, Hunt to the Bears makes a lot of sense. And quite frankly, if the Bears really want him, they should stop frontin' and make this is the time now to go get him. Here's some points to support this:
1) Coach Nagy worked with Hunt when he was on the Chiefs in 2017, thus explaining the private conversations between the two.
2) QB Trubisky knows Hunt from when they were kids and were picked out of the draft the same year. He apparently has had conversations with Hunt post-video release.
3) Hunt knows Nagy's offense and he'd be an upgrade at the RB position over Jordan Howard.
4) The Bears no doubt know and understand that no matter what rehab programs and other restoration projects they'll look to place Hunt under their watch, the Me Too Movement and other feminist groups will bring smoke to the Chicago Bears organization. The idea here is to minimize as much of the distractions as possible, even knowing there will be distractions. And the way to do that is to sign him to the roster now while A) Both conference championship games this weekend, B) NFL Honors Awards, C) HOF finalists to be announced, and D) The biggest sporting event in the country: Super Bowl 53, all dominate sports talk radio and podcasts over the next couple weeks, while making the news of signing Kareem Hunt a possible under-the-radar story. Thus, why I believe the timing now is good for them to make the move.
5) Keep in mind, Kareem Hunt is currently on the NFL Commissioner's Exempt list, meaning a suspension is definitely looming for the 2019 season, which by the way, is 8 months away. That means Hunt will likely be seen on the field for the first time around mid-November 2019. This situation also has the chance to even be less of a distraction by the time training camp and preseason pops off.
6) The Bears or for that matter any team that signs Kareem Hunt will automatically lose him for close to one season and get a full 16-game season out of him after that. Life as a running back in the NFL is already limited. Let's say they do sign him now. He'll miss most of 2019 and play a full 16-game 2020 season, By that time he'll be 25 years old, which most folks say is the peak prime or at the starting point of a downslide and at best could get only 2 1/2 good seasons out of him.
7) I also think this matters. The Bears are coming off of a 12-4 season, which has lit fire under Bears fans and have kept them engaged. They may want to bring him in under circumstances that the fanbase is already hyped about the Bears being good again. I thought years ago one of the reasons Mike Vick's perception of signing with the Eagles went so well despite the controversy was because the Eagles at the time were already playoff contenders and was coming off an 11-5 season prior. I don't even think this becomes a topic of conversation had the Bears had an awful season. Imagine trying to bring him in on the heels of a 3-13 season, the fanbase would be irate.
So getting back to Kareem Hunt. Does he deserve to be punished for his actions? Absolutely! As much as we want to paint a picture of what his punishment should be and how long it should be, it may not go the way we expect it to. For what it's worth, going thru rehab, anger management, and not being able to financially support your family are repercussions in which could feel like punishment in itself. Should there be more types of punishment on the way? That's for law enforcement, the female victim, and maybe a team not signing him to determine all of that.
One thing's for certain, this just got real. We'll see whether video still matters or talent actually wins.
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