Five days after their star running back suffered a scare at training camp, the Cleveland Browns have welcomed Nick Chubb back into the fold. Coach Kevin Stefanski told reporters Saturday that Chubb, who had been sidelined since sustaining a hard hit during Monday's practice, has cleared concussion protocol and will return to practice in the run-up to Cleveland's Sept. 13 season opener.
The 24-year-old running back was spotted leaving the Browns' practice field after absorbing a blow from linebacker Mack Wilson during one of Cleveland's first days of padded practices. Wilson's hit even drew some criticism from Stefanski, who said his players "have to understand how to ... take care of each other." Now, however, Chubb is back on track to open the year in the starting lineup.
A second-round draft pick of the Browns in 2018, Chubb hasn't missed a single game during his young NFL career and is arguably one of the team's most important players entering 2020. After falling just shy of 1,000 rushing yards as a rookie, when he initially split time behind Carlos Hyde and Duke Johnson, Chubb exploded as a full-time starter in 2019, gaining nearly 1,500 yards on the ground while averaging five yards per carry and earning his first Pro Bowl nod.
The Georgia product is expected to forfeit at least a few weekly touches to No. 2 Kareem Hunt, who filled in as the Browns' starter for much of this week's practice. Suspended for the first eight games of 2019, Hunt saw reps as both a runner and receiver down the stretch of his debut Cleveland season and figures to be heavily utilized in the passing game, even meeting with the club's wide receiver group during early offseason work.