It was both a coincidence and fitting tribute that the Browns' selection of former Georgia star running back Nick Chubb was announced by none other than Jim Brown.
It was equally cool when Chubb — the 35th overall pick in last weekend's NFL Draft — crossed paths with one of the greatest players in NFL history again Thursday night at the team's rookie dinner.
"It was amazing," Chubbs said. "I didn't understand — I was naive — how big he was. It's crazy, he's one of the greatest running backs in the NFL."
Chubb, along with quarterback Baker Mayfield, cornerback Denzel Ward and the team's 2018 draft class, will get his first taste of professional football Friday in what's the first of a three-day minicamp. In hopes of someday following in Brown's massive footsteps, he'll first get to learn from veteran teammates in Duke Johnson Jr. and Carlos Hyde.
In four seasons with the Bulldogs, Chubb ran for 4,769 yards and 41 touchdowns, including 1,547 yards as a freshman that paved the way toward winning SEC Freshman of the Year. After suffering a serious knee injury the following season, he bounced back with back-to-back 1,000-yard campaigns and helped power Georgia to a national title game appearance as a senior.
Because of that, the Browns believe Chubb has the talent and toughness both on and off the field to be an impact player for years to come.
"I've been a big fan of Chubb for a long time," said vice president of player personnel Alonzo Highsmith, who compared the 22-year-old to Jamal Lewis. "Not only is he a great football player, (he's) a tremendous person, a tremendous individual and a tremendous leader. He exemplifies what we're trying to build in Cleveland."
And it all started when Brown read his name out loud at the Draft.
"He set the standard, the standard is high as a running to know the greatest running back played at this organization," Chubb said.
"For me, there's pressure but it's not pressure, I'm just going to do what I do. You just know that you have somebody to be a mentor."