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Nick Chubb 'happy to get back' in Browns backfield

Chubb is hoping to put on another big performance in Week 11 after missing his 3rd game of the season

Nick Chubb walked onto the fields at CrossCountry Mortgage Campus with a full smile, shorts and no sleeves and an itch to get a football back in his hands.

After a 10-day stint of not being able to play due to a bout with COVID-19, Chubb was back in his element: on a football field during a chilly afternoon in Berea. He was activated off the Reserve/COVID-19 list Friday morning and didn't waste time immersing himself in preparations for Sunday's Week 11 game against the Lions.

"I feel good," Chubb said. "No one wants to get it, but it is what it is and you can't do much about it. I was happy to see everybody and happy to get back out there with the boys and get a good practice in."

Chubb missed the Browns' last game against the Patriots but is hoping to return to his normal role Sunday and help Cleveland bounce back from the difficult loss. Watching the game was tough for Chubb, who has missed three game this season but is still in the thick of a race for a rushing title — he's currently third in the league with 721 rushing yards, 216 yards behind Derrick Henry and Jonathan Taylor.

"(The game) was hard to watch, for sure," Chubb said. "Just seeing my team out there and not having anything go our way, it was hard to watch. But it's a new week, a new opportunity. We still have everything ahead of us. We came out here and had a great practice, and we just have to keep moving forward."

The Browns are unquestionably better with Chubb, who rushed for 137 yards on just 14 carries in Cleveland's 41-16 win over the Bengals the week before he suffered the illness. They especially need him now as they attempt to stack wins and stay afloat in a tight AFC playoff race, which features 12 teams with five or more wins. At 5-5, the Browns are in last place in the AFC North but still have only one less win than the first-place Ravens. 

Cleveland's remaining schedule, however, couldn't be much tougher. The Lions are the only opponent left who have a record below .500, but with Chubb back, the Browns are well-equipped to use their run game to pierce Detroit's defense. The Lions currently rank 28th in the league and allowed the Steelers to rush for 145 yards last week.

"Just like every week, we can just do everything we can — run the ball, pass the ball and hope things go our way," Chubb said.

The Browns could have a slight advantage with their run game Sunday due to the forecast. Cold and rainy weather is expected at FirstEnergy Stadium, which usually calls for more action from running backs in an effort to protect the ball in slippery conditions.

Chubb, of course, is ready for any elements. That's why he only dressed in a jersey and shorts for his first practice back despite chilly conditions. The cold has never bothered Chubb, and he doesn't expect that to change Sunday.

"It's killing me now," Chubb joked — his interview was likely the first time all afternoon he stood still. "(The weather) doesn't matter to me. You can't control it at all, so it is what it is, and we'll deal with that when it comes."

His focus is on the Lions. Cleveland's margin for error the rest of the season is slim, but with Chubb back in their backfield, the Browns believe they're in good position to right the ship, starting with a strong performance Sunday.

"We've shown that we can be a great offense, great defense and a great team," Chubb said. "It's just a matter of doing it on Sunday."

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