Kareem Hunt is about to experience what is like to be a part of the Browns-Steelers rivalry, one of the fiercest in the NFL. In general, the entire AFC North is about tough and violent football, and the 24-year old running back is expected to be of massive help in these divisional matchups.
Although some might be a bit cautious coming into this matchup, it appears that Hunt can’t wait for the kick-off. Brown’s RB was looking thrilled with the prospects of participating in such a great rivalry, which will also be nationally televised.
”It’s a big game. It’s Browns vs. Steelers,” he said. ”I’ve been watching this my whole life.”
Hunt, who grew up in Cleveland, knows the importance of Thursday’s clash. As a young kid, he often watched matches between the Browns and the Steelers, rooting for his current team. The historical aspect of the rivalry between two big enemies who pretty much hate one another is not strange for him, but what is on his mind is the current season. Cleveland will fight for its life in this one, and if they fail to beat the Steelers, the playoff race will pretty much be over for him and his teammates.
“I’m pretty sure everybody in this locker room knows how important this game is,’’ the guy from Willoughby, Ohio explained. “For the rest of the year and for the rest of the season, every game is important from here on out. We just have to go out there and do our jobs.”
The Browns snapped a four-game losing streak against the Buffalo Bills last week, defeating the guests with 19-16. It was a hard-fought win, coming in the final minutes of the match, something which this team needed a lot.
Hunt appeared on the field for the first time since Week 11, 2018, when he played for the Chiefs in a loss against the LA Rams. Problems with the law forced Kansas City to release him, and he joined the Browns back in February, while he was still under the investigation. The league would later suspend the player for 8 games, preventing him from helping his new teammates posting better results in the first half of the season.
Against the Bills, Hunt recorded 74 yards from the scrimmage, 30 on the ground, and 44 through the air, but that wasn’t his biggest contribution. Hunt was the leading blocker in this contest, mostly to his RB colleague, Nick Chubb. The new role didn’t bother him at all, as he knows that it brought a positive result to his team.
“Honestly, I’m always the guy carrying the ball usually, so I did not really get too many opportunities to go lead block. It’s just about heart and the love for the game that I have.”
Chubb and Hunt are going to be of utmost importance in the upcoming event. Their game will take the pressure off Baker Mayfield, and will also control the clock, which is something very important against the Steelers and their offense. Moreover, these two individuals are the key to cracking Pittsburgh’s trademark defense.
“They’re going to go for the football, try to strip it and definitely send pressure. That’s Pittsburgh, and they have a good defense,” he said.
At the moment, the Steelers are the first in the NFL with 12 fumble recoveries and second in takeaways with 26 of them. Lately, all the victories they post were mostly a product of their impeccable defense. Over the last several years, Browns fans learned a lot about its power and cruelty. But with Hunt on board, that might change, already this Thursday.
Following this match, the Browns are hosting the Miami Dolphins, which opens them a possibility to improve their position in the AFC standings significantly. But first, they need to take down Mike Tomlin’s boys.