BEREA, Ohio — Kareem Hunt and the Cleveland Browns are finalizing a deal to reunite after star running back Nick Chubb suffered a season-ending knee injury, a person familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press on Wednesday.
Hunt, who spent four seasons with the Browns before the team decided not to re-sign him this offseason, is expected to practice later in the day, according to the person who spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because the team has not announced any moves.
Because he already knows the system, the 28-year-old Hunt is expected to be able to step right in and help the Browns (1-1), who host Tennessee on Sunday.
Hunt will back up Jerome Ford, who came off the bench and ran for 106 yards on Monday after Chubb got hurt. Hunt visited several teams over the summer, but the Cleveland native remained unsigned and available.
Chubb is facing more surgery on his left knee after tearing ligaments when he was hit by Pittsburgh safety Minkah Fitzpatrick. The four-time Pro Bowler sustained a major injury to the same knee in 2015 when he played at Georgia.
Hunt and Chubb once gave the Browns the top 1-2 running back tandem in the NFL. Hunt rushed for 1,874 yards and 16 touchdowns in four seasons with Cleveland. He was also effective as a pass catcher, getting 211 receptions for 1,806 yards.
Hunt led the league in rushing as a rookie in 2017 for Kansas City. His career took a turn the following year after video surfaced of him pushing a woman in the hallway of a hotel in downtown Cleveland.
He was suspended for the first eight games in 2019.
Hunt had a turbulent 2022 season with the Browns. Unable to get a new contract, he drew the ire of coaches by sitting out drills in training camp. Hunt wound up playing in all 17 games but wasn’t as effective while running for 468 yards and adding 210 receiving.