Running back Kareem Hunt acknowledged that he misled the Kansas City Chiefs about his role in a February assault in a Cleveland hotel that ultimately led to his release this week.
During a live interview with ESPN on Sunday, the NFL’s reigning rushing champion also said that league officials never spoke to him about the incident while conducting their own investigation, and that he never saw the security camera video until TMZ Sports posted it Friday.
In the course of a few hours, Hunt went from preparing for Sunday’s game in Oakland to being sent home from the practice facility. He was then placed on the NFL’s Commissioner Exemption List, summoned back to the team facility and told that he was being released.
‘‘They believed that I lied to them. I lied to them,’’ Hunt said. ‘‘They pretty much said we love you, everybody cares about you, and just we have to let you go. It was a tough conversation. And the Chiefs did what was right. I made a poor decision and I’m willing to take full responsibility.’’
In the grainy, graphic video, Hunt is seen getting into an argument with a woman and several men step in to hold him back. He later pushes one of the men, knocking down a woman that Hunt admitted he did not know, and eventually kicks her while she lays on the ground.
‘‘The Chiefs are right. I didn’t tell them everything,’’ Hunt said. ‘‘My actions caused this and I really wish I could apologize to them and let them know there’s no hard feelings.’’
The video brought immediate comparisons to the footage of former Ravens running back Ray Rice, who was seen punching out his then-fiancee in an elevator. That incident led to a lengthy legal saga, and it culminated in an investigation by Robert Mueller into the NFL’s mishandling of it. The league eventually hired more staff to conduct such investigations, and announced it would take a more active role in handling similar cases in the future.
The NFL made multiple attempts to obtain the video of Hunt, but the hotel said corporate policy only allowed footage to be given to law enforcement. The NFL then contacted Cleveland police, but the department said Saturday it did not pursue the video because it was not a felony-level case.
When asked whether the NFL spoke directly to Hunt about it, he replied: ‘‘No, they have not.’’
The NFL said in a statement that its investigation began immediately after the incident in February and that the league ‘‘continues to pursue a complete understanding of the facts.’’
‘‘The NFL’s ongoing investigation will include further attempts to speak to the complainants involved in the incident,’’ the statement said. ‘‘It will include a review of the new information that was made public on Friday — which was not available to the NFL previously — as well as further conversations with all parties involved in the incident.’’
Hunt said he’d just purchased an apartment in the Cleveland hotel and had several friends over, and that he did not know the woman involved in the assault. Hunt said the argument came at the end of ‘‘a long night’’ and that ‘‘it was just a disagreement. I honestly wanted her just to leave.’’
‘‘That’s not an excuse,’’ he said. ‘‘I’m not that person in that video.’’
Hunt pointed out that he was raised by his mother and grandmother, and they ‘‘they always taught me well. I know right from wrong and I’m a person that always wants to make everyone happy.’’
Still, Hunt has been in trouble before. He was suspended during his junior season at Toledo for a violation of team rules, and he was accused of a second, unrelated assault over the summer.
As in the case with the hotel incident, no charges were filed in that case.
‘‘I regret the entire thing, everything,’’ Hunt said. ‘‘I’m going to take the time to better myself, learn from this, get some help if needed, talk to people and really just take this really serious.’’
Hunt admitted that anger ‘‘could be an issue’’ and that he wants to get treatment, and Rice told NFL Network on Saturday that he would offer his help and experience in moving forward.
‘‘I would definitely try to help him figure out, ‘How can we start dealing with the underlying problems in your life?’’’ Rice said. ‘‘He has a long life to live, this will be a defining moment, but it shouldn’t be the moment that defines you.’’
Hunt said he isn’t sure that another NFL team will give him a chance, though adding a 23-year-old standout could be worth the public backlash for a team in need of help.
After leading the NFL in rushing last season, Hunt had already run for more than 800 yards while scoring 14 touchdowns in helping the Chiefs to a 9-2 record. He also had proven to be a popular player in the locker room, often attending sporting events and other functions with his teammates.
Hopkins backs Kaepernick
DeAndre Hopkins said he arrived to Houston’s game against the Browns in a No. 7 jersey bearing the hashtag ‘‘IMWITHKAP’’ to support Colin Kaepernick and his protests of social and racial injustice because ‘‘he’s standing up for what’s right.’’
Hopkins was photographed entering the stadium in the black jersey with white lettering and posted the photograph on social media before the game with an emoji of a hand making a peace sign and the word ‘‘love.’’
When asked why he wore the jersey during a news conference after the game, Hopkins would only say it was because ‘‘That’s my homie.’’ But the star receiver later discussed his motivation for the clothing choice to The Associated Press.
Kaepernick began kneeling during the national anthem in 2016 as a way to protest police brutality and social and racial injustice in America. He opted out of his contract after the end of that season and hasn’t been able to get a job in the NFL since. He’s suing the league for collusion.
‘‘I support his movement and everything that he’s doing,’’ Hopkins told The AP. ‘‘In my eyes he’s a legend. In a lot of people’s eyes he’s a legend. He’s standing up for what’s right.’’
Kaepernick retweeted Hopkins’s tweet of the picture and wrote: ‘‘Appreciate love from one of the best . . . thank you brother!!!’’
Allen getting up to speed
For Dolphins defensive end Cameron Wake, the game’s final play was like too many others, and spent chasing Josh Allen.
Zigzag scrambling by the Bills’ rookie quarterback sent Wake running to his right and then his left and then his right again, with the playground pursuit ending only when Allen stopped and made a desperation fourth-down heave to the end zone.
‘‘You’re winning at getting to the quarterback,’’ Wake said. ‘‘It’s just that he wouldn’t cooperate.’’
While Allen was hard to catch, the Dolphins managed to overtake the Bills, 21-17.
Miami’s Ryan Tannehill threw three touchdown passes in victory but was upstaged by the Bills’ first-round draft pick, who ran for 135 yards on nine carries to set a franchise rushing record for a quarterback for the second week in a row.
‘‘He’s a big guy who can run,’’ Miami coach Adam Gase said. ‘‘His ability to move around causes problems.’’
The Dolphins sacked the 6-foot-5-inch, 237-pound Allen twice, but more often he eluded the rush to buy time or take off downfield. He also threw for 231 yards, including scores covering 15 and 25 yards to Zay Jones.
He twice led the Bills into Miami territory in the closing minutes, only to have both threats stall.
‘‘He’s a bad boy,’’ teammate LeSean McCoy said. ‘‘For him to be so young, running the ball, throwing the ball, he wants that moment of greatness. Fourth quarter being down, needing a touchdown, it’s scary to see him grow from weeks and months ago.’’
On second thought . . .
The Colts put the ball in Andrew Luck’s hands. They probably should have trusted Adam Vinatieri’s leg.
The Colts failed to convert three fourth-down plays — all in field-goal range — and lost, 6-0, to offensively challenged Jacksonville.
The first two were aggressive calls, calculated risks early in a scoreless game. The last one was a desperation move late. Regardless, they proved to be the difference in a low-scoring affair.
‘‘In a game like that, if you have a crystal ball, I suppose you maybe play it a little different,’’ Vinatieri said.
Coach Frank Reich said the team just failed to execute.
‘‘We were down in there enough, and that’s why you have to make every play count,’’ Reich said. ‘‘They deserve a lot of credit for stopping us. Not every game is going to be running up and down the field, especially when you play a defense like that in their home stadium.’’
Seattle’s wide receivers paid homage to their former defensive teammate Richard Sherman when the Seahawks took on Sherman’s 49ers.
After Jaron Brown’s 4-yard catch in the first quarter the group created a re-enactment of the famous tip play by Sherman in the 2013 NFC championship game against the 49ers. Late in the fourth quarter, Sherman tipped an end zone pass from Colin Kaepernick into the arms of Malcolm Smith for an interception that secured Seattle’s berth in the Super Bowl.
Brown was the quarterback on the play’s reenactment while Doug Baldwin played the role of Sherman and David Moore was in the role of Smith, who is also playing for the 49ers.
‘‘We thought it’d be nice to give him a tribute if we had the opportunity to do so. I know it’s kind of weird. We’re scoring. He’s on the other team. We’re doing a tribute, but that was in our hearts this week,’’ Baldwin said.
Olsen’s season over
Panthers Pro Bowl tight end Greg Olsen reinjured his right foot in the second quarter and after the game said his season is over. The injury — Olsen said he ruptured his plantar fascia — appeared to happen on a noncontact move in which Olsen misstepped. “It’s kind of one of those things where it was a matter of time,” Olsen said. “We kind of pushed this foot I think as far as possible the last two seasons, and today it just kind of had enough.” . . . Rams receiver Brandin Cooks, who had four receptions for 62 yards, became the first player in NFL history with 1,000 yards receiving in three straight years with three different franchises. Cooks surpassed 1,000 last year with New England and in 2016 with New Orleans. Cooks also had a 1,000-yard season with the Saints in 2015 . . . Ravens rookie QB Lamar Jackson missed one series in the third quarter with a head injury, clearing the way for Robert Griffin III to get his first significant playing time since 2016. Griffin went 2 of 4 for 21 yards, guiding the Ravens to a field goal before Jackson returned . . . Aldrick Rosas’s 57-yard field goal was the longest in Giants history. The record was 56 by Ali Haji-Sheikh, who converted from that distance twice in 1983 . . . Jameis Winston moved ahead of Josh Freeman as Tampa Bay’s career touchdown pass leader with 81 . . . Phillip Lindsay also became the first undrafted rookie in Broncos history to top 1,000 yards rushing and receiving in a season . . . The crowd of 44,392 in Cincinnati was the smallest at Paul Brown Stadium since 2011.