INDIANAPOLIS – There's nothing good about what Kareem Hunt did.
There is no reasonable way to justify his decision to shove and kick a woman in February 2018, an act captured on a surveillance video that prompted the Kansas City Chiefs to cut Hunt on Nov. 30.
But Hunt can do good moving forward, if he chooses to do so.
Speaking about Hunt publicly for the first time, Browns coach Freddie Kitchens emphasized he is focused on helping the talented but troubled former Kansas City Chiefs running back who signed with his hometown team on Feb. 11 turn his life around.
"Kareem has to be willing, has to show remorse and be willing to make a change, and he's shown us that," Kitchens said Wednesday during the NFL Scouting Combine at the Indiana Convention Center. "It could be in Kansas City, Cleveland, that doesn't matter. In a lot of ways, you know, it's more important for Kareem to make those advances and to evolve into a better person in his hometown. That's where he's going to do the most good.
"There's some good that can come out of this. We never justify anything that's happened, but there's some good that can come out of this if he keeps evolving and keeps doing the things he's supposed to do to become a better person."
Hunt's notorious act of violence occurred in the hallway outside his apartment at the Metropolitan at The 9 in downtown Cleveland.
The damage can't be undone, yet the Browns made the controversial choice to give Hunt a chance to write a new chapter in northeast Ohio.
"There's a great opportunity in Cleveland that he can change and impact more lives in Cleveland by making this turnaround and moving forward," Kitchens said. "We do not ever condone what happened. Kareem Hunt has an opportunity in Cleveland that he wouldn't have in other places.
"So maybe Cleveland supports Kareem like the Cleveland Browns are going to support Kareem, and maybe that's what he needs to live the rest of his life after football."
Maybe. The bottom line is Hunt needs to prove those are realistic possibilities.
Although general manager John Dorsey said two weeks ago he expects Hunt to be with the Browns when they begin their offseason workout program on April 1, Dorsey insisted Hunt is not guaranteed to stick with the organization.
Kitchens echoed the sentiment.
"I've talked to Kareem on several occasions," Kitchens said. "He's very remorseful about what he's done. Now it's our job to move forward and support him and get him to a place as an individual and as a person to give him the opportunity, a second chance per se.
"The second chance is not now. He's got a lot of work to do between now and that time the second chance comes. We'll see how that goes. Right now, we're day to day and just trying to offer him support where he needs to become a better person to get him eventually on the field."
Hunt won't be able to return to the field for regular-season games until he serves an impending NFL suspension, the length of which has yet to be revealed by the league.
In the meantime, the Browns want Hunt to concentrate on his rehabilitation. Dorsey said Hunt has been receiving professional counseling since the Chiefs cut him. Kitchens stressed the franchise is obligated to give Hunt the resources he needs.
"At some point, football is going to end for all these guys, and it's our job as coaches and as people and as mentors to give them something to do in a good nature the 50 years after the fact that their football careers have ended," Kitchens said. "So sometimes coaches, they're player-forming, and afterwards, they're forgotten about. Well, that's not going to be the case."
Among the challenges Hunt will face during his comeback attempt is being back home. Many of his relatives have been arrested and served prison sentences.
Asked about Hunt dealing with negative influences from his family, Kitchens said, "That all goes with decision-making, and you have to make decisions in your life, in my life, on people you associate with and people you don't. You'd like to surround yourself with people that have your best interests in mind, no different than me or anybody else."
Dorsey is an expert on Hunt's rough background. When Dorsey was the GM of the Chiefs, he drafted Hunt in the third round out of the University of Toledo. Kitchens explained "John has more information about the person than anybody in the league," so the GM's knowledge played a significant role in the decision to sign Hunt.
Still, the conversation about signing Hunt is more complicated than familiarity.
"Any time there's a social issue, of course, you have to factor in the fact that it may not be accepted in a positive nature," Kitchens said. "But in saying that, it's those issues that you can have the biggest growth, too. Let's not forget that this is a people business, and we're in the people-building business, and then we get to the football later. But our foremost thing right now for Kareem Hunt is to offer him support to be the man that he wants to be."