Browns Sign Kareem Hunt

FILE - In this Nov. 19, 2018, file photo, Kansas City Chiefs running back Kareem Hunt (27) scores a touchdown ahead of Los Angeles Rams free safety Lamarcus Joyner (20) as Chiefs offensive guard Cameron Erving (75) looks on during the first half of an NFL football game, in Los Angeles. The Cleveland Browns have signed Kareem Hunt, the running back cut by Kansas City in November after a video showed him pushing and kicking a woman the previous February. Cleveland general manager John Dorsey, who drafted Hunt while working for Kansas City, on Monday, Feb. 11, 2019, said the Browns "fully understand and respect the complexity of questions and issues in signing a player with Kareem's history and do not condone his actions." (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)

CLEVELAND (AP) — The Cleveland Browns’ signing of Kareem Hunt once again shines a spotlight somewhere other than the team’s on-field performance.

Hunt, who was released 2¢ months ago by Kansas City after a video surfaced showing the star running back pushing and kicking a woman, signed with Cleveland on Monday.

Hunt was placed on the NFL’s commissioner’s exempt list hours before the Chiefs released him, a move that drew public support after he was seen in a physical altercation with the woman last February during an argument in the lobby of a downtown hotel where he stayed.

He was in his second season with Kansas City and was one of the team’s best players. He led the NFL in rushing as a rookie in 2017.

The Browns are now giving the 23-year-old, who is from Cleveland, a chance to restart his career, though he still could be suspended by the league under its personal conduct policy for the incident and two others that surfaced after he was released by the Chiefs. Hunt has not been charged with a crime. An NFL investigation is ongoing.

And the Browns, coming off a tumultuous 7-8-1 season that followed an 0-16 record in 2017 — with a new coach after Hue Jackson was fired midseason in 2018 — are creating headlines by giving a player a second chance even as the NFL has not yet decided Hunt’s status.

Browns general manager John Dorsey drafted Hunt while working for Kansas City and said their relationship was an “important part of this decision-making process.”

“But we then did extensive due diligence with many individuals, including clinical professionals, to have a better understanding of the person he is today and whether it was prudent to sign him,” said Dorsey, who was Kansas City’s GM from 2013-16. “There were two important factors: One is that Kareem took full responsibility for his egregious actions and showed true remorse and secondly, just as importantly, he is undergoing and is committed to necessary professional treatment and a plan that has been clearly laid out.”

Dorsey went on to say the Browns “fully understand and respect the complexity of questions and issues in signing a player with Kareem’s history and do not condone his actions. Given what we know about Kareem through our extensive research, we believe he deserves a second chance but certainly with the understanding that he has to go through critical and essential steps to become a performing member of this organization, aside from what the NFL determines from their ongoing investigation.”

Dorsey added that the Browns have given Hunt “detailed plans with expectations laid out that he understands and must follow.”

He said any similar incident will not be tolerated.

Kyler Murray chooses NFL

over baseball, Oakland Athletics

MESA, Ariz. (AP) — When Kyler Murray won the Heisman Trophy, the Oakland Athletics knew there was a chance he might chose football over baseball.

That is exactly what happened.

On the day the A’s started spring training workouts, Murray said he will pursue a career in the NFL.

“We took the best athlete on the board and who we thought was probably the best baseball player on the board, too,” Athletics general manager David Forst said. “We’ve known all along this was a possibility. We knew he had a great option in the NFL, so we’ve known for a while that there was a chance this was going to happen.”

Murray was the ninth overall pick in last June’s baseball amateur draft, and the outfielder agreed to a minor league contract with Oakland for a $4.66 million signing bonus. He is a football quarterback and is eligible for this year’s NFL draft, which starts April 25.

“I am firmly and fully committing my life and time to becoming an NFL quarterback,” Murray tweeted . “Football has been my love and passion my entire life. I was raised to play QB, and I very much look forward to dedicating 100 percent of myself to being the best QB possible and winning NFL championships. I have started an extensive training program to further prepare myself for upcoming workouts and interviews. I eagerly await the opportunity to continue to prove to NFL decision makers that I am the franchise QB in this draft.”

Murray’s baseball deal called for him to receive $1.5 million within 30 days of the deal’s approval last summer by Major League Baseball and $3.16 million on March 1. While there is a provision for a team to get an extra draft pick in the following draft if it fails to sign a player selected prior to the fourth round, there is no such provision for a player who signed and then decided not to play.

Bo Jackson and Deion Sanders played both football and baseball, but Jackson was a running back and Sanders a cornerback.

“Quarterback is a very demanding position, as is being a Major League baseball player,” Beane said. “To say somebody could or couldn’t, I’m not here to say that. Something like that is something that is part of our private discussions.”

“He’s one of those rare athletes, who I think any sport that he played, he’d probably excel at,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said.

Murray passed for 4,361 yards and 42 touchdowns for Oklahoma last season. He ran for 1,001 yards and another 12 scores, posting the second-best passer efficiency rating in FBS history.

“Obviously the fact that he would want to play quarterback, if he chooses the football route, is a little different than Deion or Bo or some of those guys,” Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley said in November. “But he athletically is so gifted and can transition between the two.”

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