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Browns brass preaches accountability while forgiving Kareem Hunt, Odell Beckham Jr. incidents

In January, the Cleveland Browns made 32-year-old Andrew Berry the youngest general manager in NFL history.

On Wednesday, they officially introduced him in the midst of a tumultuous offseason that followed a season replete with disappointment. After playoff hopes morphed into a 6-10 record and the Myles Garrett disaster, Kareem Hunt and Odell Beckham Jr. have since run into much-publicized off-field incidents involving law enforcement.

‘We want guys to be ... accountable’

Berry was asked to address both cases during his news conference.

“Obviously with Kareem, we have communicated our expectations for him moving forward,” Berry said. “We want guys who are going to be smart, tough and accountable both on and off the field. Kareem understands that, and we are looking forward to him meshing with our culture moving forward.”

Hunt’s troubled past

The Browns signed Hunt last offseason after the Kansas City Chiefs released him when video surfaced of him shoving and kicking a woman in hotel hallway. Hunt later admitted to lying to the Chiefs about the incident before the video surfaced.

He played in eight games in 2019 after serving a half-season suspension handed down by the NFL.

Latest problems for Hunt

In January, video showed Hunt pleading with a police officer during a traffic stop that he would fail a drug test.

The officer said on the footage that Hunt also had an open container of Vodka in the car.

Haslam’s take

Owner Jimmy Haslam also spoke at Wednesday’s news conference and was a little more blunt about the third-year running back.

“It's not good,” Haslam said. “Kareem knows he's got to do better. ... What he did is not acceptable. He's got to do better.

“We have and will continue to work closely with Kareem. But he knows our expectations are higher than what he showed.”

Cleveland Browns general manager Andrew Berry, center, poses for a photo with owners Jimmy Haslam, left, and Dee Haslam. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)

Haslam, of course, signed Hunt after the video of his assault of a woman surfaced. That his patience hasn’t depleted because of a traffic stop should come as no surprise.

Will Browns keep Hunt?

Hunt enters the offseason as a restricted free agent, and the Browns will have a decision on whether to sign him, tender him or let him walk.

From Berry’s and Haslam’s statements Wednesday, it sounds like the Browns intend to keep him around. Even if “what he did is not acceptable.”

Odell Beckham Jr.’s status

As for Beckham, he followed up a disappointing season on the field by drawing the attention of police and cameras at the CFP national championship where his alma mater LSU beat Clemson for the national title.

Beckham handed cash to amateur NCAA athletes on the field and faced an arrest warrant after video showed him smacking a police officer on the butt during LSU’s locker room celebration. Police eventually rescinded the charges.

“In terms of Odell, both of us have had really good conversation,” Berry said Wednesday. “He is one of the most talented receivers in the league, and we are certainly happy to have him here. Everybody is going to have to fit into our culture in terms of being smart, tough and accountable, and both of those guys know that.”

Berry mentioned accountability and culture multiple times throughout his news conference. But team actions show that leeway on that accountability will correlate directly with a player’s ability to contribute on the field.

That, of course, is the NFL way.

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