Why did the Chiefs cut Kareem Hunt? Video led to 2018 release, suspension before signing with Browns
Kareem Hunt served an eight-game suspension for the actions that got him released from the Chiefs, but he’s returned to the top-10 of the NFL’s rushing leaderboard with the Cleveland Browns.
The running back out of Toledo played less than two seasons with Kansas City after his third-round draft selection and led the league in rushing yards as a rookie. But when video footage of a February 2018 dispute with a woman was released in November 2018, the Chiefs quickly released Hunt. He latched on with Cleveland in March 2019 before serving his suspension and joining a backfield with Nick Chubb.
This is a look back at why Hunt was released by the Chiefs and the timeline of events that surrounded it.
Why did the Chiefs cut Kareem Hunt?
Hunt was released by the Chiefs on Nov. 30, 2018, for an incident that took place in February 2018, with a video released by TMZ serving as the evidence that led to Kansas City cutting Hunt.
In February, Hunt had a dispute with a woman, Abigail Ottinger, in a Cleveland apartment. At the time, Ottinger told police that Hunt “pushed and shoved” her, but no charges were filed and there wasn’t any footage, so the NFL didn’t act.
In November, TMZ released a video of the incident. The footage shows various angles of Hunt appearing to shove and kick a woman. The Cleveland Police Department said it had not seen the footage prior to TMZ’s release because it does not follow up for such things on a misdemeanor crime. In a statement, Hunt said, “I deeply regret what I did. I hope to move on from this.”
In the days that followed, the NFL said it hadn’t interviewed Hunt following the February incident but that it had interviewed those involved in the situation. The league said Dec. 2, 2018, that it “continues to pursue a complete understanding of the facts.” Hunt also went under investigation for a June 2018 incident in which he allegedly punched a man in the face after a verbal dispute. And TMZ cited a third police report from January 2018 claiming that Hunt and other members of the Chiefs organization attacked a man.
To be clear, Hunt’s release nearly immediately followed the release of the video that appeared to show Hunt shoving and kicking a woman. The other incidents were swirling around league investigations and TMZ reports at the same time.
The NFL suspended Hunt for eight games on March 15, 2019, which was about a month after the Browns signed Hunt.
Kareem Hunt Chiefs release timeline
— April 28, 2017: The Chiefs draft Hunt in the third round of the NFL Draft out of Toledo. He leads the NFL in rushing yards as a rookie.
— Feb. 10, 2018: A woman, Abigail Ottinger, tells police Hunt “pushed and shoved” her during a dispute in a Cleveland hotel apartment. Ottinger claims she and a friend were dismissed from Hunt’s apartment because she “didn’t want” another man. No charges were filed, although the police and hotel security were both summoned at the time of the dispute.
— June 3, 2018: Hunt allegedly punches a man in the face after a verbal dispute at an Ohio resort, according to TMZ. A resort official confirms to TMZ there was an incident involving Hunt and the alleged victim. Hunt is not arrested.
— Nov. 30, 2018: TMZ releases video footage of the February incident, and the Chiefs soon cut Hill, who was also placed on the Commissioner’s Exempt list.
— Feb. 11, 2019: The Cleveland Browns sign Hunt to a one-year deal.
— March 15, 2019: The NFL hands down an eight-game suspension to Hunt.