CLEVELAND — Cleveland Browns running back Kareem Hunt knows what it is like to serve a suspension in the National Football League and be separated from his teammates for a prolonged period of time, and that is something Pro Bowl defensive end Myles Garrett is working through now.
Just three weeks removed from finishing his suspension for a series of off-the-field incidents, including an assault of a woman at The 9 hotel/apartment complex in February of 2018, Hunt understands what Garrett is feeling and has some advice for his teammate as the appeal process plays itself out.
“I have been there and I have been in his position,” Hunt said. “It is tough, but you just have to take it day by day and be positive, even when you feel like it is never going to end. I am here now and finally got through the storm.”
Currently, Garrett is awaiting word on his appeal hearing, which was held in New York City Wednesday, to see if he will have his indefinite suspension reduced to a set number of games for his actions late in a 21-7 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers at FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland last Thursday.
The incident boiled over into a brawl when Garrett brought Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph to the ground well after a third-down play with eight seconds remaining in the game.
After the hit, Rudolph appeared to rip off Garrett’s helmet after delivering a couple of kicks below the belt of the Pro Bowl defensive end. Garrett responded by ripping off Rudolph’s helmet with several powerful tugs, and later, swinging it at and connecting to the quarterback’s head when the signal-caller pursued the matter further.
When Garrett ended up on the ground after getting tangled up with Steelers offensive lineman David DeCastro, center Maurkice Pouncey tried to protect his quarterback and delivered several kicks to the helmet and multiple punches to the Browns’ Pro Bowl defensive end.
It was then that Browns defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi escalated further the already volatile situation by pushing Rudolph from behind and to the ground, at which time, players left both benches and a scrum ensued in the end zone that took several minutes to get under control.
“I feel like he is handling it,” Hunt said. “He is ready to take responsibility of his consequences and that is all he can do. Now, just show to everybody that Myles is a good guy. He is one of the best people, I would say. He is a good person.
“I was surprised. Emotions get high. It still does not change the way that I think about Myles. Absolutely a great person, a great teammate. Made a mistake. Hopefully, we get him back sooner than later. That is all we can hope for.”
Although the Browns (4-6) have quite the uphill climb ahead of them to get back into contention for the postseason, especially without Garrett, Hunt believes the locker room has galvanized and is ready to embrace the challenges ahead.
Those challenges start with Sunday’s game against the Miami Dolphins at FirstEnergy Stadium.
“We know we’re the only people in this locker room who think we have a shot,” Hunt said. “A lot of people are closing the book on us already. We’ve just got to stick together and go out there and make plays, offensively and defensively. I feel like we have the depth to do it. ‘Next guy up,’ we’ve got to have that mentality.”