Lions didn't pursue Kareem Hunt; 'I want good people,' GM says
Allen Park — The Detroit Lions opened up the mics for fans at Monday's season ticket holder summit, understanding general manager Bob Quinn, coach Matt Patricia and team president Rod Wood might face some tough questions.
One of the toughest came on running back Kareem Hunt.
One of the NFL's best rushers the past two years, Hunt was unceremoniously cut by the Kansas City Chiefs last season after video leaked of a physical altercation between him and a woman at a Cleveland hotel in February of last year.
Two months later, Hunt has a new employer, signed by the Cleveland Browns on Monday. The fan wanted to know why the Lions didn't consider adding the talented but troubled rusher.
"Obviously, today we learned that the Cleveland Browns picked up and signed Kareem Hunt," the fan introduced as Kat from Warren said. "The deal seems pretty good. I'm not naive enough to think there are only good guys that play in the NFL, considering what he did. It also seems in the NFL, if a guy is a playmaker, if he's really good, he gets a second chance. It appears Cleveland has done that and they're just as hungry for a winning team as we are. Did you consider signing him and if not, why?"
Quinn didn't hesitate with his response.
"I'll take that. We consider everybody that's available," he said. "Obviously, when that player was released, toward the end of the season, every team had the opportunity to claim him, number one, and would actually be on a cheaper contract that he signed today.
"We evaluate every player on the field and off the field, and in this case, we talked about it internally and it was just a player we didn't feel comfortable with the Lions for numerous issues," Quinn continued. "I stand by that. That's my word. I want good players and I want good people in this organization."
Coach Matt Patricia was arrested and indicted by a grand jury on one count of aggravated sexual assault for an incident that occurred in 1996 in South Padre Island, Texas. The case was ultimately dropped when the alleged victim declined to testify in a trial.
Patricia vehemently denied the allegations and Lions management stood by their coach.
Additionally, linebacker Trevor Bates remains on the roster after he allegedly struck and injured a police officer during an arrest in New York after failing to pay a cab fare.
The first day Quinn met with the media as Lions general manger, in 2016, he took a definitive stance on character, declaring a zero-tolerance policy on players involved in domestic abuse or gun crimes.
And he drew scrutiny for signing two tight ends that offseason, Andrew Quarless and Orson Charles, who had been arrested in the past for gun-related crimes.
The next offseason, Quinn revisited his previous comments and publicly explained his altered philosophy.
“Looking back, I thought about that,” Quinn said. “I honestly did. I think every incident and every situation is different. I said that. It’s in black and white. Looking back, I probably should not have said that because the more you do research on each individual incident, what you read in the newspaper and the internet is sometimes not accurate.
“I felt really comfortable in both those situations that we did more research than we needed,” Quinn said. “If there’s a situation like that that I need to investigate to help this football team, I’m going to do that.”
Hunt's transgressions, which included two additional altercations beyond the one that cost him his job, proved to be too much for Quinn and the Lions to ignore.