The Chicago Bears have not ruled out bringing in Kareem Hunt, per Matt Nagy and Ryan Pace. Here’s why.
In a press conference Monday afternoon, Chicago Bears head coach Matt Nagy and general manager Ryan Pace took questions on everything from Cody Parkey‘s status on the team to Trey Burton‘s injury. While the buzz surrounds Nagy’s and Pace’s telling answers to Parkey-related questions, the most controversial answers came after questions about Kareem Hunt.
Hunt currently resides on the Commissioner Exempt List after a video surfaced last Nov. 30 of Hunt shoving and kicking a woman in a Cleveland hotel last February. He was released by the Kansas City Chiefs the following day, who released a statement saying that Hunt lied to them about the incident.
From a purely football perspective, the Bears could really use Hunt’s services. In 11 games this season, Hunt racked up 824 rushing yards and seven rushing touchdowns to go with 378 receiving yards and seven receiving touchdowns.
While Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen are very good at certain aspects of the position, the Bears lack a true every-down back. Howard is a patient, smart runner, but he lacks any breakaway speed. On the other hand, Cohen is as quick as anyone in the NFL but is very small for the position and thus lacks power. Hunt could fill the Bears’ every-down needs more than adequately.
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As the Chiefs’ offensive coordinator last season, Nagy coached Hunt and thus knows his game well. Nagy showed this season that he loves to get his running backs involved in the passing attack, and Hunt could nicely compliment Cohen in that regard.
Of course, given Hunt’s off-the-field issues, the Bears would have to be certain that his past is indeed behind him if they want to give him roster spot. Nagy knows Hunt well and would likely be the one most responsible for evaluating his social state, as Pace admitted during Monday’s press conference that he does not know Hunt.
When asked about Hunt, here is what Nagy had to say:
"“There’s one thing right now with Kareem, and that’s worrying about him as a person. I talked to Kareem, completely wanting to know how he’s doing. We had a good conversation. Here’s a kid that I spent a year coaching on offense. I wanted to see, making sure that he’s OK but understanding, too, the situation that happened is unfortunate for everybody. . . There’s more to it than the football, so we talked strictly on that.”"
"“As far as the person, with me and coaching him and all that stuff, there were no issues at all. He was a really, really good kid. He came to work every day. He wasn’t late to meetings, any of that. So it was obviously a surprise. It’s an unfortunate situation for everybody.”"
While both Nagy and Pace admitted that they are not actively seeking to add Hunt to the Bears’ roster, this is an offseason storyline to watch. Nagy already knows how he could use Hunt in the Bears’ offense, and Hunt could be more drawn to the Bears than other teams because Nagy has already shown care in his personal well-being.
Obviously, the Bears making any moves for Hunt is contingent on his status with the league office, as his spot on the Commissioner Exempt List prevents him from being on an active roster. You can be sure that the Bears will be monitoring that situation very closely this offseason.