Thursday's NFL: Hernia surgery precedes Kareem Hunt's suspension

Detroit News wire services
Browns running back Kareem Hunt

Cleveland — Browns running back Kareem Hunt will spend part of his NFL suspension rehabbing after surgery.

Hunt, who will serve an eight-game ban for two physical off-field altercations in 2018 while he played for Kansas City, had a sports hernia operation Thursday — hours before the Browns played Detroit in their exhibition finale.

Hunt had been expected to play in what would have been his last game until his ban ends in November. The Browns said the 24-year-old is expected to be fully recovered by the time he’s eligible to return to their roster for the Nov. 10 game against Buffalo.

On Wednesday, the league said Hunt is not allowed inside the team’s facility during his suspension, which goes into effect Saturday at 4 p.m. The Browns had asked for an exemption so Hunt could be around his teammates while serving his penalty.

Hunt, who is from the Cleveland area, will now have to rehab his injury elsewhere.

The Browns signed the league’s 2017 rushing leader in February on the recommendation of general manager John Dorsey, who drafted Hunt in the third round in 2017 while he was Kansas City’s GM.

Hunt was punished by Commissioner Roger Goodell for violating the league’s personal-conduct policy following an investigation into the two incidents, one in which he shoved and kicked a woman during an argument in a hotel hallway in Cleveland where he was staying.

The Chiefs released him in the final weeks of their playoff push last season. The team was upset that Hunt had lied to them about his involvement in the incidents.

Hunt gained 1,327 yards rushing as a rookie. He had 824 yards rushing and 378 yards receiving in 11 games in 2018 before the Chiefs cut ties with him.

Free agent comes out

NFL free agent Ryan Russell came out as bisexual in a first-person essay with ESPN.

“My truth is that I’m a talented football player, a damn good writer, a loving son, an overbearing brother, a caring friend, a loyal lover, and a bisexual man,” Russell said in an as-told-to account with ESPN writer Kevin Arnovitz.

Russell, who played 22 games with the Buccaneers between 2016 and 2017, last appeared in a regular season game on Dec. 31, 2017. He signed with the Bills in July 2018, but Buffalo cut him one week before the start of the regular season.

“I have two goals: returning to the NFL, and living my life openly,” Russell said. “I want to live my dream of playing the game I’ve worked my whole life to play, and being open about the person I’ve always been.”

If Russell, 27, appears in a regular-season game, he will become the first openly gay or bisexual football player to do so. Michael Sam, a former defensive end for the University of Missouri, came out as gay after finishing his collegiate career. The Rams selected Sam in the seventh round of the 2014 NFL Draft, making him the first openly gay athlete to be taken in the draft, but he never appeared in the regular season.

Lloyd’s kick reverberates

A week after a video of Carli Lloyd kicking a 55-yard field goal went viral, she is now considering the possibility of playing in the NFL.

Lloyd, the U.S. national team soccer star, reportedly drew interest from an NFL team to kick in a preseason game.

“It has gone from just having fun kicking to, ‘Will she play in the NFL?’ ” Lloyd, 37, told the Washington Post. “At first, I was just laughing about it a little bit. But the more I spoke with my husband — he is all for it — and my friends and family, they are really encouraging me to potentially take up this opportunity.”

“I am not afraid to step up in front of the whole world and actually do it,” Lloyd added. “I have always been like that, from a little girl. I’ve never cared about going up against boys.”

Pro Football Hall of Fame kicker Morten Andersen thinks Lloyd should go for it, and he’s willing to help.

He tweeted this message: “Hey Carli, Morten Andersen here in Atlanta. If you want to know what it’s like to kick in the NFL for 25 years, contact me and I’d love to work with you. Go get it.”

Broncos ownership

The Broncos are set to exercise late owner Pat Bowlen’s plan of succession after a judge dismissed a lawsuit filed by his brother.

Brittany Bowlen, 29, is planning to return to the team in a senior management position following her wedding in September, beginning a process she hopes will lead to her taking over as the franchise’s controlling owner.

Arapahoe County Court Judge John E. Scipione dismissed John Bowlen’s lawsuit Thursday. John Bowlen had sought to remove team President Joe Ellis, team counsel Rich Slivka and Denver lawyer Mary Kelley as trustees of the Patrick D. Bowlen trust, claiming they weren’t acting in good faith or in his late brother’s best interests.

After John Bowlen’s lawsuit was filed in October, the trustees asked the NFL to arbitrate the matter rather than the courts, and Commissioner Roger Goodell appointed ex-49ers executive Carmen Policy as arbitrator.

The Broncos are confident the league will rule in favor of the trust, which is in charge of selecting the next controlling owner of the franchise valued at more than $2.5 billion.

Extra points

Seahawks cornerback Kalan Reed’s neck injury that landed him on injured reserve likely also ended his career, according to a report was independently confirmed by the Seattle Times.

... Cleveland sent a fifth-round and sixth-round pick in 2020 to Buffalo for offensive lineman Wyatt Teller and a seventh-round pick in 2021.

... The Packers agreed to send outside linebacker Reggie Gilbert to the Titans in exchange for a conditional 2020 draft pick.

... The Cardinals traded offensive lineman Korey Cunningham to the Patriots for a sixth-round pick in next year’s draft.