Bears Leave Open Possibility Of Signing Kareem Hunt

LAKE FOREST, Ill. (670 The Score) -- General manager Ryan Pace left open a possibility that the Bears could pursue free-agent running back Kareem Hunt, who's on the commissioner's exempt list after a video from last February surfaced showing him shoving and kicking a woman in a Cleveland hotel.

Hunt was released by the Chiefs on Nov. 30 following the incident being exposed in a video obtained by TMZ. The NFL has yet to suspend Hunt, though that's expected to be more than the baseline of six games, according to an NFL Media report. Hunt's suspension wouldn't begin until he's removed from the commissioner's exempt list. No charges were filed against Hunt.

"Obviously there’s a lot of things off the field that he’s got to take care of," Pace said Monday at the Bears' year-end press conference when asked about a possible pursuit of Hunt. "(Coach Matt Nagy) knows Kareem. I don’t know Kareem. Those things are all going to play out."

The 23-year-old Hunt was a Pro Bowl running back in his rookie season of 2017 after leading the NFL with 1,327 rushing yards in the Nagy-led Chiefs offense. He also added 53 receptions on 63 targets.

Nagy said that he recently spoke on the phone with Hunt to simply check in on his well-being -- not as a matter of potential recruiting in free agency. 

Nagy was asked directly whether Hunt deserves a second chance in the league.

"When you talk about second chances, well, what’s the second chance?" Nagy said. "What’s your situation? With (Hunt), that’s not for me to decide. I will say this, me personally, depending on certain peoples’ situations.

"I've been kind of raised that way to give guys second chances, not third chances. But I’ve learned that from (Chiefs coach Andy) Reid, he’s done that several times with some people. 

"Every situation is different. That’s his situation, and I wanted to talk to him on the true, personal side."

At running back, the Bears currently have Jordan Howard under contract for one more season and Tarik Cohen for two more. Both Nagy and Pace spoke of bolstering the team's personnel after a season of mixed results offensively.

In March 2015, during his first year as general manager, Pace signed defensive lineman Ray McDonald to the Bears despite an arrest for domestic violence charges the year before. McDonald was arrested two months later in May under more charges of domestic violence and was subsequently released by Chicago.

Would Pace's past history with a player like McDonald deter him from pursuing a player like Hunt?

"Every one of those is unique," Pace said. "Every one is different. All the circumstances are always different.  We’re not even there yet. I mean, I know what he is as a player obviously from watching. Matt knows a little bit more about him as a person. But we’re not even close to that point."

Chris Emma covers the Bears, Chicago’s sports scene and more for Follow him on Twitter @CEmma670.​​