BEREA, Ohio (AP)Kareem Hunt didn’t have to renew his trade request to the Cleveland Browns. They know how the running back feels.
In a few days, Hunt will know how they feel about him.
After demanding a trade during training camp when he didn’t get a contract extension, Hunt could be dealt by Tuesday’s NFL trade deadline. The deadline will come just hours after the Browns host the Cincinnati Bengals.
Hunt said Saturday that he hasn’t spoken to the team about a deal.
”I haven’t said anything to them,” said Hunt, choosing his words carefully during a brief post-practice interview at his locker. ”I just come in and work. That’s all I ever do.”
There’s been no denying Hunt’s heart or hunger in what has been an interesting season for the 27-year-old. After being used in tandem with star Nick Chubb and giving Cleveland a lethal 1-2 backfield punch earlier this season, his touches have dropped considerably in the past two games.
He had just four carries two weeks ago against New England, and only five last week – for minus-4 yards – in a loss to Baltimore.
”I mean, I wouldn’t say it bothers me,” Hunt said when asked about his lack of opportunities. ”I would love to help the team win but I’m a team guy. My biggest thing is winning and losing and we ain’t doing that. We ain’t winning so.”
Trade rumors have been swirling around Hunt for weeks with the Philadelphia Eagles and Los Angeles Rams among the teams linked to him. It’s possible the Cleveland-area native could be down to his final game with the Browns.
If that’s the case, he promised to leave with his head held high.
”I mean it’ll be mixed emotions, for sure,” he said on the prospect of Monday being his finale. ”But they’ll know I gave it my all here in Cleveland and that’s what I’ll always and continue to do.”
To this point, he’s blocked out trade rumors on social media.
”I don’t look at that stuff,” he said. ”If it happens it happens. I’ll be ready.”
The Browns (2-5) have lost four straight, and unless they end the streak with a win over the Bengals (4-3), things could be different for Hunt and the team heading into a bye week.
If he’s traded, Hunt said his new team would get his best.
”They’ll get a hell of a player,” said Hunt, who signed as a free agent with the Browns in 2019 after being released by Kansas City. The Chiefs let him go after a video emerged of him shoving a woman. The off-field incident led to an eight-game league suspension for violating the conduct policy.
Hunt, who led the league in rushing as a rookie, has been productive during his time in Cleveland and a solid teammate. He was limited to just eight games last season due to injury and the Browns missed him.
In August, Hunt and his representatives asked the team for a trade, which was denied by the Browns. He protested by refusing to participate in team drills for two days. Hunt’s not sure if his actions had any residual effect.
”I don’t know if it’s been or not,” he said. ”That’s how I felt and I’m up for whatever. I play football, man. I love the game.”
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