LAKE FOREST, Ill.
— Kareem Hunter says he no longer considers himself a man of Chicago, a city he was born and raised in.
Hunter’s decision to play in St. Louis last season made headlines and has been a lightning rod for controversy.
He had to wait until Sunday to publicly address the situation.
The Rams had to make a decision about their long-term future in the NFC West before making a decision, but Hunter said they decided to stay in St Louis because they wanted to be there.
“I’ve always said, you know, I have a heart of gold and that’s what I’m here for,” Hunter said Monday.
“I’ve said all along I don’t think it’s the right time for me to leave the city that I grew up in.”
Hunter, who made $14 million last season as the Rams’ third-round pick, will turn 29 on Thursday.
He has three years remaining on his contract and has played only nine seasons.
He said he still considers Chicago home.
“That’s my home, Chicago,” Hunter, a former Bears tight end, said.
“And I’m going to be here and I’m gonna be a Chicago guy.”
Hunt said he’s grateful for his teammates.
He praised cornerback Chris Conte and defensive end Brandon Graham for their contributions to the defense.
Hunter said he and former Bears linebacker Michael Oher had dinner Sunday at a local restaurant and Hunter said Graham and Conte are going to take over as the team’s leaders.
“If they want me to be their leader, I’m ready for it,” Hunter added.