KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kareem Hunt holds no illusions that the more than 200 friends and family members attending Sunday's Chiefs game at Cleveland will carry conflicted loyalties between the No. 27 jersey on their backs and the Browns love in their hearts.
“I'm sure they will,” Hunt said. “But I know they want to see me do good, but we're die-hard Browns fans out there where I'm from. They all like to see me do well, but see the Browns win.”
Hunt's mother, Stephanie Riggins, made news on Wednesday when she visited the Willoughby South High School football team to present them with tickets to the game. Players from Hunt's high school will join many of his friends and family at the game for the native of Willoughby, Ohio, a suburb of Cleveland.
“She was pretty happy about that and it's always good to see her on TV and stuff like that,” Hunt said. “Made me smile.”
Willoughby South remains an important place in Hunt's development as both a football player and a person. He credits his coaches and teachers for giving him opportunities to become successful. His visits back home to his high school and buying tickets for the team serve as gestures letting them know he didn't forget about the people who helped him in the past.
“It definitely is a really good feeling because they've done so much for me in my past growing up in high school, the coaches, teachers,” Hunt said. “They did a real good job of making sure I was on the right path.”
The Chiefs running back spent his entire career in Ohio before selected by Kansas City in the 2017 draft. He played collegiately at Toledo, so going back to Cleveland is nothing new.
“I'm just going to treat it like another game,” Hunt said. “I've been playing in Northeast Ohio my whole life, and now it's just another game back in Northeast Ohio.”
Hunt grew up a die-hard Browns fan. His favorite player was Dennis Northcutt, a wide receiver who spent 10 seasons in the league as one of the top punt returners in the game. Hunt's mom said she has around 200 people in their group to attend the game to support him.
“And definitely more than that probably because a lot of people got their tickets on their own because they wanted to sit closer, sit somewhere special,” Hunt said.