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Nick Chubb ready to deliver messages on game day, keep stoic demeanor in 3rd season

Nick Chubb’s stage for statements has never been in a postgame interview or press conference. 

He's never offered lofty predictions for what kind of production he wants to have before a new season. He's rarely given himself high praise after a big game. He's not the type of player to yell in the middle of a huddle and fire up his teammates.

Chubb has never felt the need to say much about his own game. That's just who he is. 

"He's a man of few words," coach Kevin Stefanski said with a smile in a video call Thursday with local reporters. "Even less than me."

Chubb, however, doesn't need to talk himself up. His spotlight has always shined brightest on the field, where he's built a reputation as one of the best running backs in the league after two dominant seasons in Cleveland.

The field has always been Chubb's stage for showing people who he is since he became the fourth back to be selected in the 2018 draft. With 2,490 career rushing yards and 18 touchdowns, Chubb has been a consistent force from Cleveland's backfield and hasn't slowed down, no matter the opponent. His robot-like robustness has catapulted him to stardom, and he's preparing for an even bigger year after rushing for 1,494 yards last season, which was fourth all-time for a single season in franchise history.

Chubb, of course, won't say that himself. He doesn't need to.

"He sets the example," rookie wide receiver Donovan Peoples-Jones said. "He's a humble guy, a very hard worker on the field. You can just tell how much he loves football by the way he practices."

Chubb finished 47 yards shy of Derrick Henry for the league rushing title last season. Despite having a 124-yard lead on Henry for the top spot in Week 17, Henry ascended to No. 1 in the final hours of the regular season with a massive 211-yard performance. 

Not many people remember who the No. 2 rusher was each season, and Chubb knows it. If he had found a few more big plays — or, rather, if Henry found a few less big plays — he would've cemented his name in NFL history.

Instead, he was No. 2. Chubb did have something to say about that, though.

"[It did] not really bother me," he said during training camp. "Just more motivation. Trying to do it this year. I believe everything happens for a reason, and you just keep working and striving and things will fall into place for you. That is my mindset."

As long as Chubb is on his favorite stage, he'll continue to make statements about winning a rushing title. 

That may not seem as realistic with Kareem Hunt, another top 10 NFL running back, in the room with him. Hunt won the title himself in 2017 and is slated to play his first full season in a Browns uniform, but even after he returned from an eight-game suspension in 2019, Chubb was just as productive from the backfield.

With Hunt back on the field, Chubb averaged 92.9 yards per game, a small dropoff from his 100-yard per game average. Both running backs should see an increased workload, though, in Stefanski's run-heavy playbook schemes. Add in a revamped offensive line, and the rushing holes for Chubb should be even wider.

Chubb doesn't need to say that himself, though. Anyone who's watched Chubb wiggle his way to a first down or burst through the line for a big gain knows it, and Stefanski has seen plenty of that in practice so far.

"I love how Nick Chubb works," Stefanski said. "You see him on the grass, you see him in the classroom — he's all ball all the time. He's a good person and a solid citizen. He's a great teammate, so I'm pleased with what Nick means to this team." 

Chubb's primary setting for making statements about his performance won't change anytime soon. He speaks loudest on the field, where a 100-yard rushing performance or multi-touchdown game will let everyone know how Chubb feels about his game, his teammates or his season.

That's always been Chubb's favorite way to send a message, and in 2020, Chubb's stage appears to be bigger than ever.

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