McCaskey On A Hunt Pursuit: 'We're Not There Yet'

"If circumstances are right, a second chance is warranted," George McCaskey says.

McNeil & Parkins Show
January 24, 2019 - 2:19 pm
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(670 The Score) Ten days after Bears general manager Ryan Pace and coach Matt Nagy left the door open to signing former Chiefs running back Kareem Hunt, chairman George McCaskey didn't pass judgment on Hunt's case and acknowledged he's willing to give players second chances in certain circumstances. 

Hunt is on the commissioner's exempt list after a video from last February surfaced showing him shoving and kicking a woman in a Cleveland hotel. He was released by the Chiefs on Nov. 30 following the incident being exposed in a video obtained by TMZ.

"We're not there yet," McCaskey said of a possible pursuit of Hunt during an interview on the McNeil & Parkins Show on Thursday afternoon.

Nagy coached Hunt for one season in Kansas City before leaving to join Chicago. The 23-year-old Hunt was a Pro Bowl running back in his rookie season of 2017 after leading the NFL with 1,327 rushing yards in the Nagy-led Chiefs offense. He also added 53 receptions on 63 targets. 

In the days after the Bears' season-ending loss to the Eagles in the wild-card round on Jan. 6, Nagy reached out to check in on Hunt.

"It's an indication of the kind of person Matt is, that he reached out to Kareem Hunt," McCaskey said. "He said it was a non-football conversation. He was just checking in. He had coached him for one year in Kansas City. I think it says a lot about Matt that it's not just a player-coach relationship with these guys. He cares about our guys as people, not just players. And that's all it was."

McCaskey hasn't seen the video of Hunt kicking the woman, he said. Should the Bears choose to pursue Hunt, he would view it.

"It's not important for me to see it at this point," McCaskey said. "If we ever get to that point, I would make sure that I saw it. It's not just incidents of domestic violence that get caught on video. This is a vexing social issue that needs attention and not just from people in the NFL and not just from teams with owners who happen to be female. A lot of times it's a 'he said, she said' situation and family and friends and police and prosecutors need to sort through and find out which person is telling a more credible story. It's a very, very difficult situation and as a society, we've got to get on top of it."

In March 2015, the Bears signed defensive lineman Ray McDonald despite an arrest for domestic violence charges the year before. McDonald was arrested two months later in May under more charges of domestic violence and was subsequently released by Chicago.

McCaskey was asked what he learned from that experience.

"The biggest lesson I learned -- and I said it at the time -- is I didn't go with my gut," McCaskey said. "My gut told me no, and I went against that. It was a mistake, and it was my mistake."

McCaskey is open to giving players second chances in the right circumstance.

"I agree that if the circumstances are right, a second chance is warranted," McCaskey said. "The question is in a particular circumstance -- and every situation is different -- does that person deserve a second chance? And in this particular situation, we're not anywhere close to that."

If the Bears front office and Nagy do want to pursue Hunt, McCaskey will join the conversation.

"We have a process in place, and I've said many times to Ryan and to Matt and to Bears fans, I don't get involved in personnel decisions unless there's a character question," McCaskey said. "And Ryan and Matt know that if there is a character question, they need to bring it to me."