Nick Chubb has never been about individual accolades and a career year wasn’t enough to put a smile on the Cleveland Browns running back’s face as he cleaned out his locker on Monday.
Chubb rushed for a career-high 1,525 yards and 12 touchdowns this season, adding another Pro Bowl to his resume. But Chubb made it clear that heading home in early January is not something he has enjoyed, no matter how well he does individually.
“No one in the building wants to be going home right now,” Chubb told reporters on Monday. “We have to find a way to push it back to February. But it’s tough. Everybody has expectations coming to the season and we didn’t meet any of ’em.
“For me personally, it’s hard. I mean I know we all work hard in the offseason and I know personally I do, too. So going home right now isn’t great.”
The Browns lacked consistency all season and let opportunities slip away, which Chubb previously lamented once the playoffs were out of reach. But he kept chugging away, rushing for over 100 yards in seven games while averaging five yards per carry.
“It’s bittersweet,” Chubb said. “Individually, it’s something I’m proud of for sure. I had a lot of help from the O-line and guys blocking for me, but at the end of the day I’m about winning and I didn’t have that yesterday, didn’t have a lot this season. There are things we need to work on, but overall it’s bittersweet right now.”
Browns’ Backfield Will Look Different Next Season
The Browns have Chubb locked in as a franchise cornerstone through the 2024 season and will likely be eager to keep him in the mix when an extension is needed. However, his backfield partners Kareem Hunt and D’Ernest Johnson are likely not returning next season.
Hunt was once considered the 1B to Chubb in the backfield but his workload took a tumble in the second half of the season. It sure sounded like Hunt — who will be a free agent this offseason — has come to terms with the fact that his future is not with the Browns.
“It was great. I got a lot of great friends, family all around and it’s something that a kid from Cleveland always wanted to do,” said Hunt, an Ohio native. “So growing up it’s really a dream come true. I feel like I lived that out and I’m excited to see what else takes place.
“It meant a lot. It don’t get much better than playing for your hometown team and giving it your all each and every time you touch the field.”
Hunt finished this year with 468 yards rushing with a career-low 3.8 yards per carry.
Johnson was coming off a breakout season after he saw an increased workload with both Chubb and Hunt banged up in 2021. He rarely saw the field this season, notching just four carries for 17 yards. Johnson will also be an unrestricted free agent.
Browns Guard Joel Bitonio: ‘I’m Getting Older’
The Browns will watch the playoffs from home for a second year in a row after a promising 2020-21 season where they notched a Wild Card win against the Steelers. They have some key pieces in place but another year of wasting that talent stings for someone like All-Pro guard Joel Bitonio, who will turn 32 next season.
“I hate using the word, but I’m getting older,” Bitonio said. “I’m getting older and you don’t know how many years you have left playing. I’m not in year two or three where it’s like, ‘Hey, I’ve got a lot of time left.’ So it’s one of those things where I want to win.”
The Browns made the move to fire defensive coordinator Joe Woods on Monday and more changes could be coming to Cleveland in the coming days.