Rogers: Character over talent

February 27, 2019

Former Toledo Rockets running back Kareem Hunt is back in the news again after recently being signed by the Cleveland Browns. 


The Kansas City Chiefs released Hunt last season after TMZ released video of Hunt assaulting a woman at a hotel in Cleveland in February of 2018.


When asked about why the team signed Hunt, general manager John Dorsey said, “We believe that he deserves a second chance.”


Now, I’m all for giving people second chances, but there needs to be a period to address consequences of a person’s actions.


Signing a player just over three months after being released over charges of domestic violence is basically washing away a serious crime. The events of this situation beg the question, is talent the only important thing when bringing on players to a team?


The NFL is a business, and to be successful in said business is to have the best players to win championships, but at what cost? There are plenty of players in the league who are good at their craft and also have quality character.


The other thing that is mind-boggling is that the Browns didn’t need Hunt. Cleveland already employed two solid running backs in Nick Chubb and Duke Johnson. Chubb, a rookie out of Georgia last season, ran for 996 yards and eight touchdowns.


He ran only four yards short of 1,000 yards, a great season for veteran running backs, as a rookie. Johnson had 429 receiving yards, caught three touchdowns and was a solid receiving option out of the backfield for the Browns.


Now Hunt, talent-wise, is definitely an upgrade over these two backs, but the Browns could easily be successful with the young nucleus they have without Hunt.


The Browns also weren’t the only team that was thinking about signing Hunt so quickly. My favorite team, the Chicago Bears, were also in the news among rumors that they were thinking about signing Hunt.


Head coach Matt Nagy was Hunt’s offensive coordinator when they were both in Kansas City in 2017. Nagy echoed Dorsey’s comments, saying, “I was raised to give guys second chances, not third chances.”


I was glad that the Bears didn’t pull the trigger on Hunt. Teams need to have a standard of the type of character that they allow on their team, and I like my teams to have that standard.


On top of the Browns and Bears, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported when Hunt was still not signed that “multiple teams were interested in signing Hunt.” With the stance that the NFL and some of its teams have tried to take against domestic violence, this is shocking.


There are many things that go into a great member of an NFL team, including work ethic, relational skills, character and talent. Talent is the No. 1 thing that teams look at because it most relates to winning.


Character should go before talent. Teams should take a stand on this, and become better organizations for it. 


Jackson Rogers is a fourth-year media communication major.


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