Kareem Hunt races away with AFC offensive, rookie honors for September

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kareem Hunt continues stockpiling rookie records, and he added more Thursday without even stepping on the field, picking up both the AFC offensive player of the month and rookie of the month honors.

“It’s a great feeling,” Hunt said after winning the two awards. “I just want to keep it going, keep going out every week and showing up.”

Hunt is the first rookie to win an offensive player of the month award in 17 seasons. He’s also just the fourth rookie to win the award, joining Barry Sanders (1989), Edgerrin James (1999) and Mike Anderson (2000). He also becomes the first Chiefs player to win an offensive rookie of the month honor.

Kareem Hunt sent a message to opponents not to go to sleep on him during his touchdown celebration against the Philadelphia Eagles on Sept. 17, 2017. (Photo by Justin Olson, ChiefsDigest.com)

The third-round draft pick continues tearing through opposing defense, leading the league with 401 rushing yards. His six touchdown tie with Billy Sims (1980) for the most in a rookie’s first three games in the league in modern NFL history. Only one rookie in modern league history rushed for more yards in their first three games — Cadillac Williams tallied 434 yards in 2005.

Hunt also leads the league with 538 yards from scrimmage and 8.53 yards per carry. He’s also the first player in NFL history to post a touchdown of 50 yards or longer in each of his first the games.

The rookie did that damage on relatively few touches. Hunt received no more than 17 carries in any of the team’s first three games. He received a personal-high 22 touches during week one at New England with 17 rushes and five catches. Head coach Andy Reid denied the team uses caution managing the rookie’s workload.

“But with all our players we try to keep in mind how fresh they are and so on, kind of where they’re at physically,” Reid said. “It’s no different with him. We’ll just see how it goes here down the road.”

Quarterback Alex Smith said Hunt’s effectiveness and game situations remain big influence on the running back’s touches.

“I just think a lot of times that’s the way the games go,” Smith said. “There’s a lot of different ways to get a ball to a back, not just handoffs. He’s a guy that is good at that, he’s good in the passing game, good catching balls, so you can get him touches there. I think each game is different the way it goes, how they’re playing us.”

Hunt said he understands the importance of preparing his body for the rigor of a 16-game regular season plus a potential playoff run.

“It starts now just taking care of your body every day,” Hunt said. “Just doing little things when you’re not that sore, you just got to keep working to get your body all the way back together. You know you’ve got to take it day-by-day and week-by-week.”

Hunt said his sudden popularity led to more text and phone calls as well increased recognition in public.

“A lot of people trying to reach out to you and a lot of people recognizing you wherever your go if you go to the store, out to eat, anything like that,” Hunt said. “Just a lot more people trying to get to know you.”

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Matt Derrick is the lead beat writer for ChiefsDigest.com. Use the contact page to reach him or find him on Twitter: @MattDerrick.

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