When the Browns play the Chiefs in the divisional round on Sunday, it will be Kareem Hunt‘s first trip back to Kansas City since the club cut him late in the 2018 season.
The Chiefs waived Hunt on Nov. 30 that year once video emerged of the running back shoving and kicking a woman. Hunt subsequently signed with his hometown team and served and eight-game suspension to begin the 2019 season.
Now Hunt will face the organization that drafted him, saying on Instagram that the matchup is “personal.”
But not everyone feels that way. Chiefs head coach Andy Reid said Monday he’s glad things are going well for the running back. And in a Monday interview with KCSP 610 Sports Radio, Patrick Mahomes said he and Hunt are still friends.
“That’s my dude, man,” Mahomes said, via Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com. “I came in with Kareem, and obviously we’re not together anymore, but I still stay in touch. He’s a heck of a football player, and someone who was one of my best friends when we first got on the team together.”
Mahomes didn’t get into the specifics, but did note that at one point he lobbied the Chiefs’ front office to potentially give Hunt another chance before the running back signed with the Browns.
“I don’t want to talk about a lot of it, but I just talked to the guys because Kareem was one of our dudes, man,” Mahomes said. “He was not only a great football player, but he was one of our best friends on the team. We had to continue to battle forward at an unfortunate time, but at the same time, I still have a relationship with Kareem and he’s still one of my good friends.”
Hunt led the league in rushing as a rookie in 2017, recording 1,327 yards and eight touchdowns for Kansas City. He also had 53 receptions for 455 yards and three TDs.
In 2020, Hunt had 1,145 yards from scrimmage — 841 rushing, 304 receiving — with 11 total touchdowns. In the wild-card victory over Pittsburgh, Hunt took eight carries for 48 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
“He’s a special football player,” Mahomes said. “He finishes every single play, he catches and runs, he can do it all. I’m happy for him that he’s back home in Cleveland and he’s able to play really good football.”