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NFL expected to suspend Kareem Hunt but allow him to return in 2019

Arizona Cardinals v Kansas City Chiefs

KANSAS CITY, MO - NOVEMBER 11: Kareem Hunt #27 of the Kansas City Chiefs rushes the ball in front of the diving tackle attempt of Haason Reddick #43 of the Arizona Cardinals during the second quarter of the game at Arrowhead Stadium on November 11, 2018 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Peter Aiken/Getty Images)

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Free agent running back Kareem Hunt is expected to be back on the field some time during the 2019 season.

Hunt will surely be suspended to start the 2019 season, but he is expected to learn the length of his suspension before the start of the league year, and he is likely to be allowed back during the 2019 season, Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports.

The start of the league year, when free agency begins, actually isn’t particularly relevant to Hunt, who is a free agent right now. Free agency only begins in March for players whose contracts have expired, not for players who were released, as Hunt was by the Chiefs after video of him assaulting a woman surfaced.

Hunt will surely have suitors. The Bears have already said they’d consider signing him, and they won’t be the only team interested. In fact, it’s possible that Hunt will come out ahead financially, given that he was under contract for a very affordable $677,000 in 2019 under his rookie deal. Hunt is likely to get multiple free agent offers, all from teams that assure the public they’re deeply concerned about Hunt’s actions, while also acknowledging that they’re willing to pay him to help them win on Sundays.