Kareem Hunt back practicing early with Cleveland

Kareem Hunt, who’s been banned from the Cleveland Browns facilities since Aug. 31, was back and practiced with the team on Monday.
Kareem Hunt, who’s been banned from the Cleveland Browns facilities since Aug. 31, was back and practiced with the team on Monday.Jason Behnken/Associated Press/FR171457 AP via AP

Kareem Hunt returned to the Cleveland Browns and practiced Monday, after serving only six games of an eight-game NFL suspension for two violent off-field altercations that threatened to end his playing career.

‘‘We have been monitoring his progress during the suspension,’’ league spokesman Brian McCarthy said in an email. ‘‘He is permitted to return to team activities, including practice.’’

Typically, suspended players don’t rejoin their teams until the Monday before they’re eligible to play. The 24-year-old Hunt, who led the league in rushing in 2017 as a rookie with Kansas City, can play on Nov. 10, when the Browns host the Buffalo Bills.


Hunt looked agile during drills in the portion of the workout open to media. He underwent surgery on a sports hernia on Aug. 29.

‘‘I thought he looked good,’’ coach Freddie Kitchens said. ‘‘He looks like he is in good shape. He moved around good. It is always good to get good players back.’’

After practice, Hunt chatted with teammates while sitting at his locker and was seen in the team’s weight room doing squats. He did not speak to reporters.

Hunt’s suspension stems from his physical confrontations, one in which he pushed and kicked a woman during an argument in the hallway of a Cleveland hotel in 2017. The Chiefs said Hunt lied to them about the incident, which was captured on video, and released him with a few games left in the season.

The Browns signed him in February before the league concluded its investigation and suspended him in March for violating its personal-conduct policy.

Cleveland visits the Patriots on Sunday. They’re expected to make a change at starting left tackle, with Justin McCray likely replacing Greg Robinson. Quarterback Baker Mayfield returned to practice Monday after resting a bruised left hip last week. Mayfield got hurt when hit while scrambling.


Ryan not out, in doubt

Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan ’s decade-long streak of consecutive starts is on the line due to a sprained right ankle.

Coach Dan Quinn said the Boston College product ran in a pool to test the ankle and has not been ruled out for Sunday’s game against Seattle. The 34-year-old Ryan has not missed a start since 2009, his streak at 154 regular-season games.

Asked if the injury is a high ankle sprain, Quinn said: ‘‘We’ll stay with sprain. . . . Hopefully it’s not a long-term thing.’’

Quinn said Ryan, who held the NFL lead with 15 touchdown passes entering last weekend’s games and topped 300 yards in Atlanta’s first six, won’t practice Wednesday but could return later in the week. He said Ryan will ‘‘try anything he can’’ to play. The team will prepare to have Ryan, and also be ready to have veteran backup Matt Schaub as the starter.

Ryan was hurt when he was sacked by Aaron Donald in a 37-10 loss to the Los Angeles Rams.

The Falcons have a bye week after playing Seattle, possibly increasing the chances Ryan would be held out this week if there is any uncertainty about his status. That would give him two weeks to recover.

‘‘If he’s ready to (play), then he would,’’ Quinn said.

Mahomes at work

Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes is already deep into his rehabilitation from a knee injury suffered in last week’s win in Denver, though coach Andy Reid declined to put any timetable on the return of the league MVP.


In the meantime, Reid said, the Chiefs are preparing backup Matt Moore to start Sunday night’s showdown with the Green Bay Packers. Moore took over when Mahomes was hurt on a sneak in the second quarter Thursday night and led the Chiefs the rest of the way to a 30-6 rout of the Broncos.

Gruden dealing again

■  Oakland traded 2017 first-round cornerback Gareon Conley to Houston for a 2020 third-round pick, marking the third former first-round pick traded away by coach Jon Gruden in the past 14 months. ‘‘I think he’s a good player. I’m not going to get into it other than that,’’ Gruden said.

Conley was drafted 24th overall out of Ohio State in 2017, but played only two games as a rookie. He played 21 of 22 games the past two seasons under Gruden, but never developed into a consistent pass defender.

Only eight players remain on the 53-man roster who were not acquired by Gruden since he arrived in January 2018.

■  Carolina coach Ron Rivera ended any potential suspense over his quarterback situation by declaring Kyle Allen the starter when the Panthers — coming off a bye — visit the unbeaten San Francisco 49ers. Allen is 4-0 since taking over for the injured Cam Newton, whom Rivera said will work with trainers this week at practice. Newton has missed four games with a mid-foot sprain and hasn’t practiced since a Week 2 loss to Tampa Bay.

■  Miami safety Bobby McCain will be disciplined by the team for a verbal confrontation with a 13-year-old boy and for allegedly spitting in the face of another Bills fan following Miami’s loss at Buffalo.


Coach Brian Flores said he discussed the incident with McCain on Monday, the day after the Dolphins’ 31-21 loss. Erie County Sheriff spokesman Scott Zylka confirms that police are investigating fans’ complaints, working with the Bills and the NFL in reviewing stadium security video.

Dylan Wentland, 28, told The Associated Press he was standing at the ledge overlooking the tunnel when McCain ran up and spit in his face following the game. Wentland said he and McCain exchanged words before the game when McCain twice threatened to spit at a teen.

■  Chargers offensive guard Forrest Lamp will miss the rest of the season after breaking his right leg against Tennessee, the third-year lineman’s second career start at left guard.