Kareem Hunt's fate likely to be known by free agency


While his former team plays Sunday in the AFC Championship Game against the Patriots, Kareem Hunt stays away from the spotlight. The 2017 rushing leader and former Chiefs running back hasn't spoken publicly since the days after he was released and put on the Commissioner's Exempt List, quietly attempting to turn his life and career around.

Meanwhile, the NFL's investigation into three incidents involving Hunt continues. While there is no official deadline -- being thorough is the goal -- sources say the belief is the investigations will be wrapped up before the start of free agency in March. At the very least, teams considering signing him will know what they need to know before the league year opens.

Along with the assault on a female in a Cleveland area hotel from last February, there is also an apparent altercation at a club and an incident where he allegedly punched a man at a resort. The league has bundled those three offenses into one case.

Hunt has not yet spoken with NFL investigators, as that would be the final piece of the investigation. At this point, based on the fact that several teams have been keeping tabs on Hunt, touching base and doing homework on him, the likelihood is that Hunt is back in the NFL in 2019. But the belief remains that any six-plus game suspension keeps him on the sidelines to begin next season.

What's not clear is how many weeks of his stay on the exempt list will play into his looming suspension for violating the personal conduct policy. Kansas City released Hunt with five weeks remaining in the regular season.

While the Chiefs haven't missed a beat since he was cut for lying to them about the Ohio incident -- Damien Williams has averaged 5.1 yards per rush -- Hunt has gone through counseling for anger and alcohol issues.

Earlier this week, Bears coach Matt Nagy, who was Hunt's offensive coordinator in Kansas City, said he has spoken to Hunt on a personal level and did not rule out signing him for a second chance. There seem to be other teams in that category, and it's likely Hunt will get that final opportunity.

Follow Ian Rapoport on Twitter @RapSheet.



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