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Quarterback facing suspension amid NFL disciplinary case over sexual misconduct allegations and running back demanding trade after team denied his request for a long-term contract extension are all part of a normal training camp, as far as Cleveland Browns coach Kevin Stefanski is concerned.
After the Browns opened camp with QB Deshaun Watson suspended for six games — which the NFL is calling for a harsher penalty — running back Kareem Hunt missed practices this weekend while wanting a new deal. This request was denied, prompting Hunt to ask to be traded.
There’s no shortage of drama in the Browns’ camp, but Stefanski thinks that’s normal.
“We are working, there are no distractions,” Stefanski said on Sunday. ”I understand that there are things going on that certainly attract attention, and that’s okay… It’s normal. It’s NFL football, as far as I know.
Hunt, who is in the final year of a two-year, $13.25 million extension, returned to training on Sunday, while Watson continues to train and is currently available to play Friday in the game. Cleveland’s preseason opener against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
“I would say to you, respectfully, that we really focus on what we can control,” added Stefanski. “I understand that there are things going on that definitely get attention, and that’s OK.
“It’s a great game. I know our fans love this game and are following every step of the way.
“For us, we’re really focused on trying to improve. We’re not where we need to be and we have a lot of work to do. That’s what our focus is.”
Limited to just eight games in 2021 due to calf and ankle injuries, Hunt had 1,145 scrimmage yards and 11 total touchdowns for the Browns in 2020, while appearing in all 16 games.
Cleveland made the playoffs that season with Hunt and Pro Bowl running back Nick Chubb forming a strong double.
An NFL leader in 2017 with Kansas City, Hunt joined the Browns in 2019 but missed the first eight games of the season after being suspended for violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy while playing for the Chiefs. .
Watson, who was acquired by Cleveland in March, has been suspended for the first six games of the upcoming season for violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy.
The league, however, is seeking a longer sentence after two dozen women accused him of sexual misconduct during massages while playing for the Houston Texans.