If the Cleveland Browns plan on having a major resurgence in 2020, they'll probably need another big year from running back Nick Chubb, who gained nearly 1,500 yards on the ground in 2019 and appears to be the centerpiece of the club's offense. One day into padded practices at training camp, however, the young Pro Bowler could be sidelined for the immediate future. On Tuesday, the Browns announced that Chubb has entered the league's concussion protocol after sustaining a hard hit by linebacker Mack Wilson during practice.
While Chubb isn't necessarily in danger of missing Cleveland's season opener on September, 13, the 24-year-old running back will be required to pass concussion protocol before returning to action in the event tests reveal such a head injury.
Wilson, a 2019 fifth-round pick who cracked the Browns' starting lineup as a rookie, drew the ire from several teammates immediately following his hit on Chubb. Tight end David Njoku, who was one of the Browns' offensive players who approached Wilson on Monday, said on Tuesday that the hit "wasn't right and no one condones that behavior," according to Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com.
Browns coach Kevin Stefanski was also critical of Wilson's hit, which came less than 24 hours after Stefanski expressed to his team the importance of not going overboard during the team's first padded practice of training camp.
"The pace of practice should look exactly the same as it did [Sunday] in shells," Stefanski said. "They have to understand how to practice hard and take care of each other regardless of the dress or the attire that they are wearing."
Wilson, via social media, defended his hit on Chubb.
"I just practice with a lot of passion," Wilson wrote via Twitter. "My intentions is to never hurt anyone on my team nor any other player I'm going up against. We good though keep the negative comments to yourself."
A second-round draft pick out of Georgia in 2018, Chubb has quietly emerged as the Browns' top play-maker and figures to be a focal point of the team's offensive strategy under new coach Kevin Stefanski in 2020. After falling four yards short of 1,000 during his rookie season, when he started only nine games but averaged more than five yards per carry and scored 10 touchdowns, Chubb broke out in 2019 with nearly 1,800 yards from scrimmage as the Browns' lead ball-carrier. His 1,494 yards on the ground ranked second among all NFL RBs, behind only Derrick Henry, and he also averaged five yards per touch for the second straight season.
Chubb has yet to miss a game in his young NFL career, appearing in all 16 contests in both 2018 and 2019. In his absence, the Browns are expected to feed No. 2 Kareem Hunt, a former Kansas City Chiefs starter, a heavier workload.