INDIANAPOLIS -- There's a lot of offseason between now and when Kareem Hunt could potentially help the Browns on the field.
Amid a flurry of questions Wednesday at the NFL Combine about Cleveland's new running back, coach Freddie Kitchens kept coming back to that point. Football, he said, is secondary as the Browns look to build Hunt into a "better person" after an incident that abruptly ended his tenure with the Chiefs and left him without a team until the Browns signed him earlier this month.
"Right now Kareem Hunt is a Cleveland Brown and it's our job to support him to be a better person," Kitchens said. "At some point, football is going to end for all of these guys. It's our job as coaches, as people, as mentors, to give them something to do in a good nature the 50-some years after their career has ended.
"Some coaches look at it that they're a player for me and afterward they're forgotten about. That's not going to be the case. We're in the people business to make him a better person and to give him the resources and the support system he needs to become a better person."
Upon announcing Hunt's signing, general manager John Dorsey stressed actions would speak louder than words with the talented Pro Bowl running back as he looks to establish trust with his new team. Kitchens indicated it's been so far, so good along that front, but the start of the season is a long way off.
"Now it's our job to move forward and support him and get him to a place as an individual and as a person to give him the opportunity, a second chance, per say," Kitchens said. "The second chance is not now. He's got a lot of work to do between now and that time the second chance comes."
Kitchens dismissed the idea that Hunt, who was caught on tape kicking and shoving a woman in a February 2018 incident at a Cleveland hotel, would be more vulnerable to fall back with the wrong crowd because he's back in his hometown. Instead, Kitchens sees it as a potential positive that can be realized if Hunt embraces the support the Browns are providing.
"I think we have to have a support system in place, which we do. Kareem has to be willing and show remorse be willing to make a change and he's shown us that. He could be in Kansas City, Cleveland, it doesn't matter," Kitchens said. "It's more important for Kareem to make those advances and evolve into a better person in his hometown. That's where he's going to do the most good.
"We'll worry about the football stuff later. Right now, we're in the Kareem Hunt business of making him a better person."