BEREA, Ohio — Nick Chubb achieved a milestone last season — that he quickly lost, yet never complained about. That endeared him even more to the Cleveland Browns, as well as to his position coach, who would soon become the head man.
“Nick Chubb is all about work,” Browns coach Freddie Kitchens said. “One of the finest human beings I know.”
Going into his second season, Chubb is quickly becoming one of the NFL’s finest running backs, as well — even if he technically didn’t rush for 1,000 yards as a rookie.
“When he gets moving,” said wide receiver teammate Odell Beckham Jr., “he’s rolling.”
Which is actually just fine with him.
“I’m just doing what I’ve got do,” he said. “You hand me the ball, our O-line does a great job blocking for me. If we want to pass the ball, maybe to block for them and catch some routes, too.
“Whatever the team needs.”
Even at his own expense, underscored by the season finale last season.
Chubb, who broke the Cleveland rookie rushing record, also passed the 1,000-yard rushing mark against the Baltimore Ravens. But then, with 6:42 left in the game, he was stuffed for a 5-yard loss, knocking his season total back to 996 yards. With the Browns attempting to rally from behind, Chubb didn’t get another carry the rest of the game — or, for that matter, the season.
“It sums it up for him — not a word was mentioned about it. Not a word,” Kitchens said. “I even apologized to him, but not a word was mentioned about going up and under 1,000 after he had 1,000. That tells you what Nick Chubb is, what he is here for and how he approaches the game, and what the game is about for him.
“Nick is everything we want in a football player from the standpoint of how he approaches the game, how he approaches practice, how he approaches every time he has the ball in his hands, every time he is pass protecting and every time he is running routes.”
The Browns are banking all of that will translate into a big second season for Chubb operating out of their potent offense. Despite playing sparingly so far this preseason, Chubb flashed what he’s capable of during a joint practice with the Indianapolis Colts last week.
— Cleveland Browns (@Browns) August 16, 2019
The Browns are also hopeful that Chubb’s ways will rub off on Kareem Hunt, Cleveland’s other explosive running back, who is set to join the backfield after serving an eight-game suspension.
“Do you want to know what the definition of keeping your head down and just going to work is?” Kitchens said. “It’s (Chubb). If Kareem learns nothing other than that, that is a benefit to Kareem and that is a benefit to our team.”
Hunt, the NFL’s rushing champ in 2017 who was released by the Kansas City Chiefs last year after a video surfaced showing him shoving and kicking a woman, has already taken to Chubb.
“The guy runs hard and I respect his game a bunch,” Hunt said. “I love the way he runs the football.”
Chubb added that the two have connected off the field, noting Hunt is already one of his “closest friends on the team.”
On the field, Chubb said he doesn’t mind if Hunt cuts into his production. After all, Chubb was part of a running back timeshare at Georgia with Sony Michel, now of the New England Patriots, that propelled to the Bulldogs all the way to the national championship game.
In this pairing with Hunt, Chubb sees great team potential, as well.
“Kareem does a lot of great things. He’s a big playmaker,” Chubb said. “He makes explosive plays and is very athletic.
“It’s gonna be scary.”