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Kareem Hunt to Browns – How he fits, status with NFL and more

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Kareem Hunt to Browns - How he fits, status with NFL and more

BEREA, Ohio — Cleveland Browns general manager John Dorsey believes in second chances, so he’ll give running back Kareem Hunt the chance to reset his career with the team.

Dorsey said Hunt has to earn the trust of the team and the city, and nothing is guaranteed.

The Kansas City Chiefs released Hunt after a video surfaced of him shoving and kicking a young woman in February 2018 at his residence in Cleveland.

The NFL placed Hunt on the commissioner’s exempt list shortly before he was released. The league will continue its investigation into this incident and two others involving Hunt that took place in 2018.

Here’s a look at where Hunt stands, and what his addition means.

What is Hunt’s official status with the NFL and the team?

Now that he has signed a one-year contract with the Browns, Hunt again will be placed on the commissioner’s exempt list. While he is on that list, Hunt cannot practice or be with the team.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell had this to say about the case Super Bowl week: “Kareem Hunt, I think, everyone knows that he’s under investigation. He is a free agent. If he is signed by a club, the clubs understand that he will go on the commissioner’s exempt list at that point in time until the discipline process has concluded — whether there is discipline or not discipline, when we finish the investigation and make a determination. There has been a tremendous amount of progress in that investigation.”

When do the Browns expect a decision on a suspension?

Dorsey said he hopes to have a resolution within two weeks, but ESPN’s Dan Graziano reported that a source had said the discipline process is “still ongoing and nowhere near done.” It is important to keep Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston in mind. In June, the NFL recommended a suspension, but the NFL Players Association worked with the league to negotiate a three-game ban. Hunt’s case could follow a similar track, with the league making a recommendation and the union and league negotiating a final agreement. At this point, the league has not gotten to the point of a recommendation.

Can Hunt take part in offseason workouts?

He cannot participate in offseason workouts, practices or preseason games until a final decision on a suspension is made. At that point, Hunt comes off the exempt list, and his discipline begins the first game of the season.

If he is suspended, when would it take effect?

The first game of the 2019 season. His punishment would begin Week 1 and last the number of games of the suspension.

Why sign him now?

There was no rush to sign Hunt, though had the Browns waited, other teams might have taken him off the market. Obviously, if he’s going to be on the team, the Browns would like him around for OTAs and minicamp, but Dorsey said the timing was more happenstance than anything. “I felt, we felt very comfortable after doing all our research that we were OK with this moving forward,” Dorsey said. “And I was OK with that.”

What is Hunt’s contract status?

He signed a one-year deal, which means if he gains an accrued season in 2019, he will be a restricted free agent after the season. If that happens, the Browns would be able to match any offers received from another team. To gain the accrued season, Hunt would have to be on the 53-man roster for 10 games. If he doesn’t get the accrued season, he would be an exclusive rights free agent, which ties him to the Browns in 2020. Essentially, by signing him now, the Browns will own Hunt’s rights for two seasons.

Does this crowd the Browns’ running back room?

Yes. “That means you’ll have good competitive depth in training camp,” Dorsey said. Competitive depth, though, does not always work in the season. The Browns have Nick Chubb, who ran for 996 yards as a rookie, and Duke Johnson Jr., who signed a three-year contract extension in June. Both were valuable contributors the final eight games of the season after the move was made to put Freddie Kitchens, now head coach, in as offensive coordinator. Hunt and Johnson can be used in a variety of ways, but teams have a hard time finding the carries and snaps for three backs. Carlos Hyde was the lead back in the first six games in 2018. When the Browns decided Chubb had to play, Hyde was traded to Jacksonville.

What does this mean for Chubb?

On the surface, it might not seem to affect him much given he’s the Browns’ starting back, but Hunt started 27 consecutive games in Kansas City, and as a rookie in 2017 led the NFL in rushing with 1,327 yards. Hunt’s addition could have a large impact on Chubb’s carries, although Kitchens and new offensive coordinator Todd Monken should be able to find enough snaps for both.

Does this make Johnson expendable?

Dorsey answered that question this way: “Duke Johnson is a fine football player. But what it does is you have three very quality, really four quality individuals. [Dontrell Hilliard is the fourth.] You have three veterans on there now. I don’t think it makes [Johnson] expendable yet. What you have to do is you have to go back and research your options and see moving forward what’s best for the organization.” Obviously the word that jumped out was “yet.”

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Reports: Bears to cut K Parkey in March

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Reports: Bears to cut K Parkey in March

After a difficult season culminated by a crucial missed field goal on a potential game-winning field goal in the NFC playoffs, kicker Cody Parkey will be released by the Chicago Bears when the new league year begins in March.

FILE PHOTO: Sep 17, 2018; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Bears kicker Cody Parkey (1) watches his field goal during the first half against the Seattle Seahawks at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports

According to multiple reports on Friday, the team intends to cut ties with Parkey once the NFL free agency period begins on March 13.

Parkey, who turned 27 on Tuesday, endured an inconsistent season in Chicago after inking a four-year, $15 million contract last winter following the team’s release of Robbie Gould, the Bears’ all-time leading scorer who moved on to the San Francisco 49ers.

Parkey, a five-year veteran, not only missed a career-high seven field-goal attempts and three extra points during the regular season, but his 43-yard attempt in the final seconds of the NFC wild-card round against the Philadelphia Eagles first hit the upright then the crossbar before bouncing back on the field.

Despite the NFL later ruling that the kick was partially blocked, Parkey took much of the public blame for the Bears’ season ending.

Parkey began his career with the Eagles in 2014 when he made the Pro Bowl as a rookie, scoring a franchise-record 150 points while making 32 of 36 field-goal tries. In two seasons with the Eagles, Parkey never missed an extra point.

Parkey later kicked for the Cleveland Browns in 2016 and Miami Dolphins in 2017.

In January, the Bears signed Tulsa product Redford Jones after conducting a workout that reportedly included multiple hopefuls. Jones made 50 of his 67 field-goal attempts at Tulsa from 2015-17, and he does have a kick on his resume where he hit both uprights. Unlike Parkey’s double-doink, though, that 2016 attempt against Cincinnati ended up going over the crossbar for three points.

“We need more production out of that position,” Bears general manager Ryan Pace said last month after signing Jones. “We know we need to get better there, and it will be an area of focus.”

—Field Level Media

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WTA roundup: Bencic upsets Svitolina to reach Dubai final

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WTA roundup: Bencic upsets Svitolina to reach Dubai final

Belinda Bencic secured a spot in the final by stunning two-time champion Elina Svitolina 6-2, 3-6, 7-6 (3) on Friday at the Dubai Duty Free Championships in the United Arab Emirates.

Tennis – WTA Premier 5 – Dubai Tennis Championships – Dubai Duty Free Tennis Stadium, Dubai, United Arab Emirates – February 22, 2019 Switzerland’s Belinda Bencic in action during the Semi Final against Ukraine’s Elina Svitolina REUTERS/Satish Kumar

Bencic trailed 5-3 in the final set before recovering to defeat the sixth-seeded Svitolina. She will face second-seeded Petra Kvitova in the championship match after the Czech Republic star defeated Taiwan’s Su-Wei Hsieh 3-6, 6-2, 6-4.

“I think I’m always the most proud of how I fight,” Bencic said after posting the victory. “Even when I lose, I learned myself to just look in the mirror and be proud of myself when I’m fighting, when I’m giving my all, when I’m trying to do what I have to do.”

Bencic won eight consecutive points after Svitolina was in position to close out the match. Then the Switzerland native carried the momentum into the tiebreaker to notch one of the biggest victories of her career by outdueling the Ukrainian.

“Basically, I stayed in the zone, even in (the) tiebreak,” Bencic said. “I was barely breathing, just playing automatic. You are not thinking any more. It’s where the instincts just guide you through it.”

Bencic will be seeking her third career title when she squares off with Kvitova, who will be shooting for her 27th.

Kvitova dropped the first set on Friday before recovering to win the last two.

“It was a tough one today, for sure,” Kvitova said. “She really didn’t give me anything for free. It was a tough first set. I’m glad that I was able to came back in the second. I didn’t play great at the end of the first.

“I think I’m pleased with my kind of mental focus after losing the first set, that I was calmer when I came back and played from the beginning of the second set. I still kind of felt that I can do that somehow. I don’t know. It was something weird.”

Kvitova overcame eight double faults to claim the victory.

Hungarian Ladies Open

Top-seeded Alison Van Uytvanck defeated Ukraine’s Kateryna Kozlova 3-6, 6-1, 6-4 to advance to the semifinals in Budapest.

Van Uytvanck, of Belgium, will face fifth-seeded Ekaterina Alexandrova in the semis. The Russian dispatched third-seeded Frenchwoman Pauline Parmentier 6-3, 6-2.

Eighth-seeded Marketa Vondrousova of the Czech Republic will face Russian Anastasia Potapova in the other semi. Vondrousova outlasted Romania’s Irina-Camelia Begu 5-7, 6-1, 6-3 while the 17-year-old Potapova fought past Romania’s Sorana Cirstea 6-4, 6-7 (5), 7-5 in 2 hours, 50 minutes.

—Field Level Media

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Patriots owner Robert Kraft facing charges of solicitation of prostitution

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Patriots owner Robert Kraft facing charges of solicitation of prostitution

New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft is facing charges of misdemeanor solicitation of prostitution after he was twice videotaped paying for a sex act at an illicit massage parlor, police in Florida said Friday.

The 77-year-old Kraft was one of 25 people involved in the alleged solicitation at the Orchids of Asia Day Spa in Jupiter.

Michael Edmondson, spokesman for the state attorney’s office in Palm Beach County, told ESPN that the nature of any charges that the 25 people face will not be released until next week.

Kraft has denied wrongdoing.

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