CLEVELAND — After missing the first half of the season while under suspension, Browns running back Kareem Hunt is nearing is debut in Cleveland and has been cleared to practice with the team, according to the Browns.
The NFL has permitted Hunt to rejoin the team and has cleared him to begin practicing Monday.
Guard Joel Bitonio said it was really cool seeing Hunt at practice.
"I know he has tried to work his tail off to get back and be healthy for us. Now I know he is a couple of weeks where he is going to figure it out, but it was cool. He did most of the scout team stuff today, and he had some good runs and some nice cuts. It was really just good to see him back out there and working," Bitonio said.
In August, the league decided Hunt would not be permitted inside the team’s facilities while he served his eight-game suspension for physical altercations that occurred when he was with the Kansas City Chiefs.
Head Coach Freddie Kitchens said he was pleased Hunt was able to return and not surprised by the NFL's decision to allow him to practice.
“I think Kareem had a good spring, a good training camp. He went out with an injury in training camp so any reps he gets is good For the most part, it is just good to have him back in the building, getting him back and continuing to support him in every way possible as a player and as a person," Kitchens said.
Hunt was suspended for two violent off-field incidents, one in which he allegedly shoved and kicked a woman during a dispute in a hotel hallway. He was later released by the Chiefs.
The Browns signed Hunt, despite the controversial altercations, in February. Since then, Hunt has taken his second chance very seriously, speaking to high school students about his mistakes, attending weekly counseling and even being baptized.
This is Hunt’s third season in the NFL. In his first two seasons with the Chiefs, Hunt rushed 452 times for 2,151 yards and 15 touchdowns. He also caught 79 passes for 833 yards and 10 touchdowns.
Near the end of the preseason, Hunt underwent sports hernia surgery. He has been recovering while serving his suspension.
Hunt will miss the next two matchups against the Patriots and the Broncos as he finishes serving his suspension. He will be eligible to play on Nov. 10 when the Browns take on the Bills at FirstEnergy Stadium.