Running back Kareem Hunt went unclaimed on waivers Monday, three days after TMZ released footage of the now former Kansas City Chiefs star striking a woman in a Cleveland hotel.
Hunt is now on the NFL commissioner's exempt list and likely faces a lengthy NFL suspension for the incident, but one of his ex-college teammates, Detroit Lions tight end Michael Roberts, said he hopes Hunt is eventually able to continue his career.
"Way above my pay grade," Roberts said Monday when asked if he expects Hunt to play again in the NFL. "I just hope he does. I know this is what he wants, what he strives for. We were together when we had nothing, so I just wish him the best and also to not take any attention away from the woman, I hope she mentally is dealing with it well as well."
Roberts and Hunt played together for four seasons at Toledo and were taken 41 picks apart in the 2017 draft.
Roberts, who has nine catches in seven games this year, said he and Hunt were "pretty close" during their time together at Toledo but "we live our own lives now and have our own separate ways of doing things, so it’s just a here and there, hi and bye" now.
Still, Roberts said he reached out to Hunt over the weekend and talked "very briefly" to the NFL's eighth-leading rusher this season.
"You just got to keep it, I guess, high, his spirits high," Roberts said. "Other than that, there’s not much you can do about it, just it’s done. Trying to help my guy out mentally and that’s all. Can’t do much."
The Chiefs, 10-2 and owners of the best record in the AFC, sent Hunt home from their practice facility on Friday after seeing video of the February incident.
Hours later, they announced they were waiving Hunt, the NFL's co-offensive rookie of the year in 2017.
The transaction was processed Saturday, and none of the NFL's 32 teams put a claim on Hunt on Monday.
Lions coach Matt Patricia declined to say how much consideration his team gave to claiming Hunt before Monday's 4 p.m. waiver deadline.
"Just going to talk about the game yesterday," he said. "We’re about the guys on our current roster. (We) have a 53-man roster right now.”
Roberts said he believes Hunt "deeply regrets" the incident, and that he was surprised the Chiefs waive a player who was so important to their success in the middle of a playoff run.
"I mean, yeah, especially him being the athlete that he is," Roberts said. "It’s a lot bigger picture I think at stake, so that was their choice. He agrees with their choice, he can’t be mad at their choice. Like I said, I myself, I don’t have much to say about it I just wish the best for him and the woman that was at hand to not have to deal with that."
Contact Dave Birkett: d[email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @davebirkett.
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