Nick Chubb made it clear Wednesday he's not interested in where he sits in the proverbial power rankings of NFL running backs.
Asked if he gets extra motivated for games like Sunday, when he'll be on the opposite sidelines of Cowboys star RB Ezekiel Elliott, Chubb said, "I go out there and play my game."
The follow-up question, which focused on whether Chubb desired to be mentioned among the league's top running backs, drew an even shorter response.
"Not at all," Chubb said.
After posting back-to-back 100-yard games, Chubb ranks fourth in the NFL with 292 rushing yards and is tied for first with four rushing touchdowns — all while sharing carries with Kareem Hunt, who also has more than 200 yards. No running back has more 20-yard runs than Chubb since 2018, and only Elliott has more 100-yard games (14 to Chubb's 13) during that span.
The Browns, of course, know what kind of value Chubb brings to the table, and that, on top of the most important thing — winning — is all that matters to him and his teammates.
"I don't think any of us get caught up in outside praise," C JC Tretter said. "I think we want both Nick and Kareem to run for a bunch of yards and be super successful. I don't think we worry about rankings or anything that kind of is people's opinions. We want our two backs to be extremely successful running the ball, put up great numbers and continue to do that.
"Nick is the type of guy, too, that does not worry about any of that. He just cares about winning, and we are in the same boat. We just want to perform on the field and not worry too much about where guys stand in the public eye. We are just focused on what happens on the field."
The Browns were without five players at Wednesday's practice, as CB Denzel Ward (groin), DE Adrian Clayborn (hip), G Joel Bitonio (back), Hunt (groin) and LB Tae Davis (elbow) worked off to the side and inside the facility.
Browns coach Kevin Stefanski said the players would be monitored throughout the week.
Ward and Clayborn played a limited number of snaps in Sunday's win over Washington. Bitonio and Hunt were at full capacity during the game while Davis exited in the first half.
Earlier in the day, the Browns signed RB Dontrell Hilliard to the active roster, giving them additional depth at running back and on kick and punt returns, where the team is looking to fill the void left by JoJo Natson, who suffered a season-ending knee injury Sunday,
"Dontrell has done a very nice job for us in all the looks that he has been doing so," Stefanski said. "He is a versatile football player so I would say it is more a reflection of Dontrell than anything else."
"Day to day is the best way to characterize it," Stefanski said.
Check out the best photos from the Browns win over the Washington Football Team yesterday by the Browns photo team
Stefanski said the promotion of Hilliard did not eliminate rookie WR Donovan Peoples-Jones from potentially returning kicks or punts Sunday against the Cowboys.
The sixth-round pick out of Michigan has been inactive for the Browns' first three games. He's listed on the team's unofficial depth chart as one of the team's options on both kicks and punts.
"He has done a nice job," Stefanski said. "I think he has grown as a football player. I think he works extremely hard at understanding what he has to do on each given play. He does a great job in the scout team looks up to this point. Just keep bringing him along."
COVID-19 protocols were an important topic covered during the Browns' meetings Wednesday in the wake of numerous positive cases affecting the Tennessee Titans. The Titans' facility has been closed since Tuesday, and their Sunday game against the Steelers has been postponed to either Monday or Tuesday.
"We have a thing called shared responsibility," DT Larry Ogunjobi said. "It is going to take all of us to handle things. You can't get lax as we are just beginning to get into the swing of the season and kind of get to the normal routine with everything. You can't forget that we are still going through a pandemic. There are still things that we have to take care of. We still have to make sure we are testing. We still have to be on our stuff and be careful about the people that we surround ourselves with. It is that shared responsibility. It can happen just like that.
"It is an eye-opener just to see the Titans close their facilities until Saturday. That is a whole week of preparation. You do not want to be the team that is going through that, especially at the start. We just have to continue to make sure that we are all on the right page."