It wasn’t long ago that the Kansas City Chiefs found themselves in a predicament with their starting running back.
In the midst of a 9-2 season, former third-round draft pick Kareem Hunt made a number of errors in judgment. It all culminated with Hunt’s release from the team in the middle of the year, putting Kansas City in a compromising position for the final stretch of the season heading into the playoffs.
Despite the rocky history, the Chiefs’ franchise continues to support Hunt from afar. As Hunt prepares to return to Arrowhead Stadium for the first time since his release, both Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes continue to have nothing but good things to say about him.
“Listen, I like Kareem,” Reid told reporters on Monday. “I’m glad things are going well for him. He knows a lot of the guys that were on that team last year and probably felt bad about not being a part of that. So, listen, I get all that. But most of all, I’m happy for him that things are going in the right direction for him and he’s on a good football team, they’re well-coached. And listen, they won their first playoff game, and there’s something to be said about that.”
As a rookie in 2017, Hunt led the NFL in rushing with over 1,300 yards. When Patrick Mahomes took over in 2018, the duo had instant chemistry that looked to be the foundation for the Chiefs’ offensive success for years to come. It didn’t turn out that way, but Mahomes still has a very good relationship with his former teammate.
“Yeah, I mean that’s my dude, man,” Mahomes told KCSP 610 Sports Radio on Monday. “I came in with Kareem (Hunt) and obviously we’re not together anymore but we still stay in touch, he’s a heck of a football player and someone that was like one of my best friends when we first got on the team together.”
Even though they’re no longer teammates, Mahomes still keeps in touch with Hunt. He spoke with him via text shortly after the Browns’ victory over the Steelers in the wild-card round.
“Yeah, for sure,” Mahomes continued. “I actually texted him last night (Sunday). I mean he has a lot of success on that field any opportunity he gets and he’s a great football player and someone that I know will keep getting better and better as his career goes on.”
Mahomes is well aware of the challenge that his defensive teammates will face when they line up to defend Hunt on Sunday. It’s not just from what he saw in the film against Pittsburgh, it’s from what he saw first hand in Kansas City.
“He’s a special football player,” Mahomes said. “He works hard, he finishes every single play. He catches and runs. He can do it all. I’m happy for him that he’s back home in Cleveland and that he’s able to go out there and play really good football.”
For Mahomes, the past is water under the bridge, but it’s not clear if Hunt feels the same. However, both the Chiefs and Hunt have moved on since their split and both are thriving. Mahomes just hopes that his guys will be able to thrive a bit more than Hunt and his teammates come Sunday.
“I still have a relationship with Kareem and he’s still one of my good friends,” Mahomes said. “We just had to continue to battle that year (2018) and now we’ve moved on and he’s moved on and we’re in good spots now. We’re going to continue to battle and we’re going to go up against a really good player and a really good football team this weekend.”
Kareem Hunt to former Chiefs teammates: ‘Sorry, but we’re enemies this week, fellas’