Browns RB Kareem Hunt: Players took plays off in loss to Cardinals

Marla Ridenour
The Akron Beacon Journal
View Comments

BEREA, Ohio — Odell Beckham Jr.'s “Come get me” plea has reportedly become contagious, with columnist Michael Silver tweeting Monday that multiple Browns yelled that at the Cardinals’ sideline during the waning moments of Arizona’s 38-24 victory Sunday.

First-year coach Freddie Kitchens remains under fire after the fifth consecutive road loss dropped the Browns to 6-8, leaving the talent-laden team’s playoff chances at 0.8%, according to ESPN’s Football Power Index.

As the woes mount, running back Kareem Hunt said Monday that some of his teammates took plays off against the Cardinals.

“We’ve got all the pieces and it’s just going out there and playing as a team and everybody playing hard each and every play and no taking plays off or nothing like that and just finishing,” said Hunt, just six games into his Browns career after serving an eight-game league suspension.

Asked specifically if that happened Sunday, when the Cardinals jumped out to a 14-0 lead, Hunt said, “I mean, yeah, I guess so, but it’s everybody. You can’t point out one person or nothing like that. ... I feel like there were some plays that everybody didn’t leave their 110% out there through the whole play, through the whole whistle. And we’ve all got to do that if we want to be successful.”

The Browns didn’t match the Steelers’ intensity in their previous road loss, a 20-13 setback at Pittsburgh on Dec. 1. Then it happened again at State Farm Stadium.

“We pretty much waited for them to punch us,” Hunt said. “At halftime we came out fighting and stuff like that. But you can’t wait that long. You’ve got to be ready as soon as the freakin’ kickoff starts. We can’t come out flat and then something makes us mad and everybody wants to start playing hard. We can’t wait for somebody to hit us to start playing hard.”

Free safety Damarious Randall wouldn’t go as far as Hunt on the lack of effort.

“I just try to control the things that I can control, try to do my job and I just try to stay in my lane and just do the things that I can do to help the team win games,” Randall said.

When asked about the defense’s effort in giving up 445 yards to the Cardinals (4-9-1), 299 in the first half, Kitchens said Monday, “I don’t think there is any quit in anybody out there. I don’t know how you distinguish that, but I know those guys fought to the very end.”

The 2017 league rushing leader as a Chiefs rookie out of the University of Toledo, Hunt will be a restricted free agent in the offseason. He’s eager to be with the Browns from the start in 2020 to help pass on his never-say-die attitude.

“I’m one of those guys that’s going to go out there and lay my body on the line each and every play. I ain’t going to worry about everything else,” Hunt said. “That starts, you’ve got to coach that all the way through OTAs and through camp. You can’t just wake up one morning and say, ‘That’s how I’m going to have to start playing football.’ I’ve been playing football like that since college, since Kansas City, now here. It’s got to be contagious to everybody.

“If we do that ... usually good things happen if you’re playing with great effort. Shoot, you never know the ball might fall in your lap if you run into it or anything like that.”

Never a coach at any level, Kitchens may have thought he was teaching that kind of effort in his first training camp after being promoted from offensive coordinator for the final eight games last season. But the Browns have come up lacking in that regard after a 2-6 start.

Recent reports by FOX’s Jay Glazer and Charles Robinson of Yahoo Sports said Beckham lobbied opponents to be traded, telling players “Come get me,” especially in October games against the San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks and New England Patriots. On Sunday, when Beckham’s longtime friend Jarvis Landry engaged Kitchens in a sideline tirade, Silver said it happened again.

Sunday’s loss gave the Browns the dubious distinction of being the only team not to have a winning record this decade, per ESPN, and players seem to be disenchanted with Kitchens.

Randall, left home from the Pittsburgh trip for disciplinary reasons, did not endorse Kitchens when asked if the Browns still have confidence in their coach.

“I can’t speak for everybody. I’m just here to do my job and I’ll let the people that (are) in charge of worrying about that worry about that,” Randall said. “I just try to control the things that I can control. I really don’t know too much about that.”

The Baltimore Ravens (12-2) visit Sunday, hoping to secure the AFC’s top seed and avenge a 40-25 loss to the Browns at home on Sept. 29. Hunt said he’ll be prepared.

“We ain’t really gotta say nothing. They’re going to come in here and try to stomp us after the first time we played them,” Hunt said. “So it’s either we’re going to fight back or we’re going to roll over. And I’m the type of person that’s going to fight back, so I hope we stay together and keep it going.”

View Comments