Hunt set to play Sunday
BEREA, Ohio — Kareem Hunt learned humility during his time away from football for two violent, off-field altercations, the lengthy layoff forcing him to grow up.
It was a tough lesson. A needed one.
While serving his eight-game NFL suspension for losing control of his emotions and becoming violent, including one incident where he was captured on videotape shoving and kicking a woman during an argument in a hotel hallway while he played for Kansas City, the Browns running back gained a deeper appreciation for all he’s been given — and how quickly it can vanish.
His long wait is over. He’s been counting down since his career stopped suddenly.
“Like 342 days,” he said.
Hunt will return to the field this week for the first time since the league punished him for two physical off-field altercations.
On Sunday, Hunt, the former league rushing champion, will make his debut for Cleveland — his hometown — as the Browns (2-6) host the Buffalo Bills (6-2).
“I’m just excited. A lot of mixed emotions, high and low,” he said, speaking to reporters for the first time since Aug. 15. “It’s going to be a very fun, emotional game, and I’m definitely going to be excited to get out there and do whatever I can to play the role and help this team win.”
This is Hunt’s second chance. He can’t count on a third.
He knows every move on and off the field is being watched.
“I’m under a microscope,” he said following practice Thursday, which marked 342 days since the Chiefs released him. “I’m not trying to put anything in jeopardy. I had a lot of time to think about, if I get in this situation, how I’m going to handle this? If I get in this situation, how am I going to handle that? This happened, how am I going to handle that?
“You get a lot of time to really reflect and think about those things. I’m good with it.”
Hunt has been practicing with the Browns for two weeks, giving the 24-year-old time to get into better shape and relearn Cleveland’s playbook.
There was a time not long ago when Hunt wondered if he’d play again.
“The first couple of weeks I wasn’t sure,” he said. “But after a while, I just prayed to God and put it in his hands and did everything I could and stayed positive and made sure I stayed in the weight room and the gym and just kept my goals ahead and looked forward.”
After the Chiefs cut him because he lied about the incidents, the Browns signed Hunt on Feb. 11, a month before the league handed down its suspension. He was allowed to practice with the team during training camp but was slowed by a groin injury that eventually led to surgery in August to repair a sports hernia.
Hunt said he’s now 100 percent physically and in a better place emotionally. He takes nothing for granted.
“I just really appreciate the fact that I get to go out and do this every day and it made me appreciate it even more, waking up every morning and coming to work even though there were days when I didn’t like doing it,” he said. “But now it’s just, ‘Yeah, I get to go to work again today’ and now it’s just a great feeling to be able to come here and train and put the grind in.”
The Browns have dropped four straight games, pushing a season that began with promise into peril. They’re hoping Hunt can provide a spark.
Hunt believes he’s still the same powerful, versatile back he was before the incidents.
Fox Sports fires Carter
Fox Sports has fired Cris Carter after three years at the network.
Fox Sports issued a statement Thursday saying Carter was no longer at the network and had no further comment. The Pro Football Hall of Famer had been a co-host of FS1’s “First Things First” morning show since its launch in 2017.
Carter had not been on the show since Oct. 31, according to The Big Lead.
Fox hired Carter as an NFL analyst but he was not part of the network’s “Thursday Night Football” or “NFL Sunday” studio shows.
Carter was part of ESPN’s NFL studio shows from 2008 until early 2016, when the network reshuffled its lineups.
Fox Sports spokesman Andrew Fegyveresi said various personalities will fill in with co-hosts Nick Wright and Jenna Wolfe on “First Things First” until a permanent replacement for Carter is named.
n A person familiar with the negotiations says Cleveland Browns center JC Tretter has agreed to terms on a three-year, $32.5 million contract extension with the club.
Tretter, who is in his third season with the Browns, will receive $23 million guaranteed, said the person who spoke on condition of anonymity because the deal has not been finalized.
n Terry Bradshaw and the “Fox NFL Sunday” pregame show have gone around the world for their Veterans Day shows. But on Sunday the show will originate from one of the service academies for the first time.
This year’s show will be broadcast from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point and will include a live audience of more than 1,000 cadets. The idea for taking the show to a service academy came from Bradshaw, who told Fox Sports President Eric Shanks during last year’s show at Fort Benning, Georgia, that he had never been to West Point.
Bradshaw and Howie Long will address the cadets in the mess hall during lunch Friday. They will then join Curt Menefee, Jay Glazer and Michael Strahan on Saturday to watch Army’s game against UMass before Sunday’s show.
n Chicago Bears coach Matt Nagy wouldn’t say if center James Daniels and left guard Cody Whitehair are switching positions again.
The usually straightforward Nagy declined to say Thursday if a change is in the works for Sunday’s matchup against the Detroit Lions, adding he wouldn’t “get into game strategy-wise.”
n The New York Giants are probably going to have a new center against the Jets and they also may be making a change at right tackle.
Coach Pat Shurmur said Thursday it’s likely Spencer Pulley is going to replace Jon Halapio at center for the braggin’ rights game Sunday at MetLife Stadium. The status of right tackle Mike Remmers also is in question after his missed his second straight workout with a back problem.
Nick Gates would have to make his first career start if Remmers can’t play.
n Raheem Morris is returning to his roots as a defensive coach.
The Atlanta Falcons hope the move will help save their season.
After 3¢ seasons working with the receivers on the offensive side, Morris is now in charge of the struggling secondary.
n Jamal Adams finally cleared the air with Joe Douglas and Adam Gase.
The New York Jets safety spoke with the general manager and head coach Monday, six days after Adams said he was “hurt” by being “shopped” by the team in trade talks.
Adams chatted last week with team chairman and CEO Christopher Johnson, but wasn’t ready to sit down with either Douglas or Gase to discuss the situation. Adams let his emotions cool, and then had the peace talks.
n Titans cornerback Malcolm Butler is out for the rest of the season with an injured left wrist, and now it’s LeShaun Sims’ turn to be Tennessee’s next man up.