The league on Friday cited a violation of its personal conduct policy “for physical altercations at his residence in Cleveland last February and at a resort in Ohio last June.” Hunt will not be paid during the half-season suspension, which he will not appeal.
The league recently completed an investigation that included a review of law enforcement records, video and electronic communications and interviews with witnesses as well as Hunt, who said he met with Commissioner Roger Goodell last week.
The 23-year-old said he wants to “again apologize for my actions.”
Hunt will be allowed to practice with the Browns through training camp until the suspension begins Aug. 31 after the final roster reduction. Hunt has been working out at the Browns’ facility in Berea, Ohio, and is scheduled to take part in the team’s offseason program starting April 1.
Hunt was released last season by the Kansas City Chiefs after a video surfaced showing him pushing and kicking a woman. The footage drew a public outcry and led to the Chiefs cutting ties with one of their best players amid a Super Bowl push. Hunt later admitted lying to the Chiefs.
The Browns signed Hunt in February, saying he was remorseful. General manager John Dorsey drafted Hunt while he was in Kansas City and felt the Ohio native was contrite and deserved a second chance.
“I know that he has really done a nice job of being committed and of doing that work so that he can be the best version of himself,” Dorsey said Thursday. “I know he has been diligently working on that.”
The league said Hunt has told them he’s committed to “available resources” and he has pledged to live up his obligations.
“I want to again apologize for my actions last year,” Hunt said in a statement released by the Browns. “I know that my behavior hurt a lot of people, and I again apologize to them. I respect the league’s decision on discipline, and I appreciate the time I spent with Commissioner Goodell last week. I’m grateful for my time with the Browns over the last month and thankful to all the people in the organization that have welcomed me.
“I also appreciate all of the support I received from my union through this process. My commitment to earning the trust of the league, my teammates, the organization and this community through my actions will continue, and I understand there is a lot of hard work ahead of me before I’m able to fully return to playing the game I love.”
Hunt’s suspension comes during a busy week for the Browns, who acquired star receiver Odell Beckham Jr. on Tuesday in a trade with the New York Giants.
The Browns signed Hunt to a one-year contract Feb. 11 knowing he was facing a potential long suspension. Dorsey didn’t excuse Hunt’s behavior and said he was willing to help a young man who had made a mistake.
Hunt led the league in rushing as a rookie with 1,327 yards, scoring eight touchdowns. He also showed his versatility by catching 53 passes for 455 yards and three TDs. In 11 games last season, he ran for 824 yards and seven touchdowns.