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Free-agent RB Kareem Hunt not frustrated by lack of market: 'I'm just being patient'

The market for running backs in 2023 is about as tough as it has ever been.

Count Kareem Hunt among those affected most by it. The veteran back remains unemployed with one month to go before the first two NFL camps open.

"I'm just being patient," Hunt said from his youth camp on Wednesday, via The News-Herald. "I've had some things come up. But right now, I'm enjoying my time with my family. I'm training and working hard and just staying ready."

Hunt's path has already included enough twists and turns for one career. The running back initially broke onto the scene as a third-round pick of the Kansas City Chiefs, then nearly threw his entire career away with his off-field conduct before returning to prominence with his hometown Cleveland Browns. The latter dream pairing helped the Browns win their first playoff game since the 1994 season in 2020, but a mix of injuries and a diminishing role led to Hunt's request for a trade and eventual departure from Cleveland this offseason.

Well, technically he's departed. He's still hanging around Cleveland, hosting his youth camp at South High School in his hometown of Willoughby, a Cleveland suburb that claims its place in American lore as the only town in the U.S. to have belonged to six different counties at one time or another.

Hunt would just be happy to make it to half as many NFL teams.

"I'm not frustrated at all," Hunt said. "It's going to work itself out. Right now I'm just here to enjoy time with my family and show these kids a good time at this football camp. I know it's all going to work out at the end of the day."

If the market continues to struggle, Hunt could return to the Browns, although the relationship seems pretty frayed, considering Hunt's outspoken desires to be traded in 2022 and his frustration over a decreased role. Miami could also use a back, even after retaining Raheem Mostert and Jeff Wilson.

Unfortunately for Hunt, he's not the only running back available, and there isn't a massive demand for any of them. Dalvin Cook, a four-time Pro Bowler recently cut by the Vikings, is also ready to be hired. So too is Ezekiel Elliott, who has been available for months.

"The Browns are always going to be a team I have mad love for, but I'm not really talking about that stuff," Hunt said, clearly indicating he's not too interested in speaking about his NFL future. "I'm enjoying my time at this football camp and focused on my body and my mind. I'm in God's hands and just looking forward to the next opportunity."

Hunt can ride out the summer before joining a team. He could even wait until an unfortunate (but typically inevitable) training camp or preseason injury that creates an immediate need for a club, prompting said team to give Hunt a call. The difficulties of the deflated running back market might require it.

"(An opportunity) will be coming up soon," he said, "I'm pretty sure."

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