BEREA, Ohio — Browns owner Jimmy Haslam said the team has again told running back Kareem Hunt that he’d better behave.
Hunt, who was suspended last season by the NFL for two physical altercations, was cited last week for speeding and police found marijuana in his car. Although he wasn’t arrested, Hunt’s actions prompted the team to meet with the 24-year-old to discuss his conduct.
New coach Kevin Stefanski and general manager Andrew Berry spoke to Hunt about their expectations for him and staying out of trouble.
“It’s not good,” Haslam said Wednesday as the team re-introduced Berry, who was the club’s vice-president of player personnel from 2016 to 2018. “Kareem knows he’s got to do better. Kevin and Andrew have talked to him about it and I’ll just leave it at that. What he did is not acceptable; he’s got to do better.”
Stefanski, hired last month after spending 13 seasons in a variety of coaching positions with the Minnesota Vikings, said he made it clear to Hunt that he needs to follow team policies.
“Every situation is different but certainly with any player we’re going to have standards by how we behave when we’re not in this building, when we are in this building,” he said. “So I think Kareem understands that, and we’re going to move forward with him understanding where I stand on all those matters.”
Hunt was stopped by police last week in Rocky River, Ohio, and was issued a speeding ticket. During a search of his vehicle, an officer found a small amount of marijuana and an open container of vodka in a backpack on the back seat.
In dashboard cam video released by police, an emotional Hunt asked the officer for leniency and promised he would change his ways.
The situation raised a red flag for the Browns after they took a risk in signing him to a one-year contract last year after he was released by the Kansas City Chiefs. Hunt was suspended eight games by the league for his off-field offences, one of which was being caught on video shoving and kicking a woman during an argument in a hotel hallway.
Stefanski also met with star wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., who had a disappointing first season with Cleveland and then found himself in trouble last month in New Orleans. Beckham handed money to LSU players on the field after they won the national championship over Clemson and then slapped a Superdome security guard on the buttocks while celebrating in the Tigers’ locker room.
An arrest warrant issued by police was recalled, but Beckham’s actions led to speculation the Browns might want to move on without the three-time Pro Bowler.
However, Stefanski said he’s hoping both players have learned from their missteps.
“I think I certainly want Kareem and Odell on the team this year,” he said. “Yes, they’re players I believe in. Again, two different situations, but to lump them together, I would put them with all of our players. There’s a standard that we’ll set and that we’re going to ask of them to adhere to those standards.”
Berry said he and Stefanski have had “really great conversations” with Beckham,
“He’s one of the most talented receivers in the league,” Berry said. “And we’re certainly happy to have him here. But again, everybody’s going to have to fit into our culture in terms of being smart, tough and accountable, and both those guys do that.”