Kareem Hunt‘s rookie season included a hot start, and the regular season portion of it came to a close with a strong finish and a rushing title.
Turns out, the former Toledo Rocket wanted that last part badly enough to make a hard sell on his coach.
“He came to me and he wanted to play and he wanted to do this thing,” Chiefs coach Andy Reid said of Hunt, via ESPN. “I fought him a little bit on it, and he won that fight. He told me he’d get it taken care of quick, and he did that. My hat goes off to him.”
Hunt did it as quickly as possible, smashing past the necessary 14 yards to pass Rams running back Todd Gurley (who sat out Week 17) with one total carry, his 35-yard touchdown run on Kansas City’s opening possession against Denver. One carry, one league lead, one touchdown, one risk taken, one injury avoided and one desire fulfilled. Simple enough.
Hunt was also called into duty out of need. The Chiefs didn’t stand to gain anything (other than momentum) from a win over Denver, but with Charcandrick West out with an illness and only one other running back (Akeem Hunt) active, Kareem Hunt needed to be available. It became even more apparent when Akeem Hunt left the game with an ankle injury. That’s how a team finishes the day with its fullback — Anthony Spencer, who rushed 14 times for 40 yards and a score — as its leading rusher.
“I just had to be ready,” Kareem Hunt said. “We were low on numbers at the running back position. Akeem and Sherm were the only guys there, so I had to dress and have their backs.”
Hunt had their backs, and the top spot on the league’s rushing list. Not bad for a guy from the MAC.