“#Browns Jerome Ford walking in with a trainer after hopping off the field,” Cabot wrote.
Browns Expected to Elevate RB Jerome Ford to Fill Kareem Hunt’s Shoes in 2023
The Browns selected the second-year back out of Cincinnati in the fifth round (No. 156 overall) of the 2022 NFL Draft. Ford will play the upcoming season at the age of 24 and offers Cleveland a younger, less expensive backup to Pro Bowler Nick Chubb than did Hunt. Ford is five years younger than Hunt and is playing on a four-year rookie contract worth just shy of $4 million total.
Ford saw a little action on offense last season, playing 14 snaps and carrying the ball eight times for 12 yards. His primary function as the team’s third-string rusher in 2022 was as a kick returner. Ford fielded 30 kickoffs and racked up 723 return yards, per Pro Football Reference.
Browns to Lean Even Heavier on Nick Chubb This Season
Monday’s injury was the second of Ford’s professional career. Cleveland placed the running back on the injured reserve (IR) list in October 2022 after he hurt his ankle during a game against the Atlanta Falcons. Ford was sidelined for four consecutive contests as a result.
Lower-limb injuries are hardly uncommon in the NFL, particularly for running backs. However, Ford’s now-history of leg issues is potential cause for concern in Cleveland. Chubb doesn’t miss much time, appearing in 75 of a possible 82 regular season games for the Browns since entering the league in 2018.
That said, Chubb sat out three contests in 2021 and five outings in 2020. He has amassed 1,210 carries over his five-year career. The Browns may use Chubb more often this upcoming season, particularly on third-down in passing situations, now that Hunt is no longer on the roster and considering Ford’s lack of NFL experience.
Durability is not yet an issue for Chubb, who turns 28 years old in December, though it could feasibly become one as soon as this season because of the increasing tread on his proverbial tires. As such, the Browns might consider adding another running back to the stable, depending on the severity of the injury Ford suffered on Monday.
Cleveland may be alright without any personnel additions at the position, however, as both Demetric Felton Jr. and John Kelly Jr. showed themselves to advantage during the Hall of Fame Game against the New York Jets on August 3 in Canton, Ohio.
Felton carried the ball seven times for 46 yards and one score during the NFL’s preseason opener, while also catching two passes for nine yards. Kelly, who is currently slotted as the team’s fourth-string back, tallied 42 rushing yards on 10 carries and made four catches for 27 yards and a touchdown, per ESPN.