Nick Chubb hasn't changed a bit since the Browns drafted him last year, and a few more rushing yards than the rest of the NFL isn't going to change it.
Chubb is the NFL's leading rusher with three games to play. Asked repeatedly Wednesday about the prospect of finishing the season that way, Chubb said he hadn't thought about it "really at all."
This mindset has been confirmed by pretty much everyone else inside the Browns locker room and coach Freddie Kitchens. Guard Joel Bitonio, who works out at the same time as Chubb almost every day and has blocked for him on all 253 of his carries this season, said Chubb "hasn't said a word" about his individual stats pretty much ever.
"I was not paying attention at first to get where I am so I am not going to start now," Chubb said. "I am just going to keep playing every week, preparing, starting the practice like today and keep working and keep working. If I keep working like I am, things will happen for me in the right way. I am counting on that."
Chubb sits at 1,281 yards with three games to play. He holds a 38-yard advantage over Titans RB Derrick Henry and leads Panthers RB Christian McCaffrey by 61. Nothing's a given over the next three weeks, but Chubb's consistency certainly gives him an edge considering he's the only one of the three who has posted at least 75 scrimmage yards in all 13 games this season.
Check out photos of the Browns preparing for their game against the Cardinals Sunday by team photographer Matt Starkey
That's the kind of mark Chubb can enjoy because of its reflection on Cleveland's success as an overall offense.
"We are all in this together. I am just happy to be able to do it for the Cleveland Browns and to be a part of this journey that I am on," Chubb said. "I am happy I have everyone here with me going through it with me. Everybody plays a part. The blocking, the guys block on the outside, the receivers, the offensive line – just everyone it is not just me."
Neither Henry nor McCaffrey have a running mate like Chubb does, but that hasn't seemed to matter when it comes to Chubb's individual numbers during the second half of the season. If anything, the emergence of Kareem Hunt has made life even easier for Chubb, who is averaging nearly 20 carries and 95.8 rushing yards per game since Hunt returned to the field Week 10.
Chubb's 253 carries leads the NFL, but he brushed off any indications that it was wearing on him.
"I have not felt like I led in attempts these past couple of games," Chubb said. "Overall, I can see why I do lead in attempts. I feel good. I feel fresh. I am ready to go."
So are his teammates, who are much more willing to discuss Chubb's trajectory toward what would be the Browns' first rushing title since Leroy Kelly rushed for 1,239 yards in 1968.
"It would be cool," Bitonio said. "Talk about a guy who deserves something like that. Give the credit where it is due. He is the same guy every day. He runs his tail off, does not say anything, does not complain and just does his job. I would be really excited for him.
"That will be something that you can look back on some day and be like, 'Man, we helped Nick Chubb with a rushing title.' It would be cool, but we are trying to focus on one week at a time and see where we are at the end."
At 1,281 yards, Chubb has already run for enough to have the ninth-best season in Browns history, and it's the most anyone's amassed in more than a decade. If he hits his average (98.5 yards per game) Sunday in Arizona, he'll pass four Jim Brown seasons and rank third in team history … behind two more Jim Brown seasons. He needs 457 more yards to tie Brown's best season, when he rushed for 1,738 yards in 1963.
Just don't expect Chubb to be doing any of that math over the course of the next few weeks.
"He wants to win this week. He wants to go 1-0 this week," Kitchens said. "Anytime a guy as special as Nick is as a person and a player receives any type of recognition, it is deserved. I do not think his end goal is not to win any kind of title, except the last title."