Browns coach Kevin Stefanski calls situation with QB Deshaun Watson, RB Kareem Hunt 'normal'

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A quarterback facing a suspension amid an NFL disciplinary case over sexual misconduct allegations and a running back demanding a trade after the team nixed his request for a long-term contract extension is 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 being suspended for six games – which the NFL is appealing to seek a harsher penalty – running back Kareem Hunt sat out practices over the weekend while wanting a new deal. That request was denied, prompting Hunt to ask to be traded.

There is no shortage of drama at the Browns' camp, but Stefanski believes it is par for the course.

''We are working, there is no distraction,'' Stefanski said on Sunday. ''I understand there are things that happen that certainly get attention, and that's OK... This is normal. This is NFL football, as far as I know.''

Hunt, who is in the final year of a two-year, $13.25million extension, did return to practice on Sunday, while Watson continues to train and is currently available to play in Cleveland's pre-season opener against the Jacksonville Jaguars on Friday.

"I would tell you, respectfully, we really do focus on what we can control,” Stefanski added. “I understand that there are things that happen that certainly get attention, and that is OK.

"This is a great game. I know our fans love this game and follow every step along the way.

"For us, we really are focused on trying to get better. We are not where we need to be, and we have a lot of work to do. That is what we are focusing on."

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 solid one-two punch.

The NFL's rushing leader in 2017 with Kansas City, Hunt joined the Browns in 2019 but sat out the first eight games that 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, was 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 penalty after two dozen women accused him of sexual misconduct during massage treatments while he played for the Houston Texans.