ENGLEWOOD, Colo. – Bradley Chubb is so upbeat about emerging as a better person and player from his torn knee ligament that he said he truly welcomes this season-ending injury.
“I’m happy this actually happened to me because I feel like in life I was getting a little too complacent,” the Denver Broncos’ rising young star said Tuesday, about 48 hours after tearing his left ACL, the same one he ruptured seven years ago in high school.
“With 12 sacks as a rookie it’s kind of hard to keep that same grind,” said Chubb, the fifth overall pick in the 2018 NFL draft. “So, I’m really happy that this happened to me because it’s a humbling experience and it’s going to get me back to that same guy that was hungry to get college offers, the same guy that was hungry to go out there and prove everybody wrong. So, I’m glad to be back in that same position.”
Chubb got hurt in the fourth quarter of Denver’s 26-24 loss to Jacksonville on Sunday, when he recorded his first sack of the season. Still, he finished the game and even forced a fumble on the final series. The ball, however, bounced right back to quarterback Gardner Minshew, who drove the Jaguars to the winning field goal as time expired.
That sent the Broncos (0-4) to their eighth straight loss and tied the franchise futility mark for the worst start in the team’s 60-year history.
A bigger loss came Monday when Chubb awoke with what he figured was the usual postgame stiffness in his left knee but went in to make sure and an MRI revealed the partial tear.
“Cried my eyes out to my mom, my dad and my brother,” Chubb said.
His next call was to Von Miller, who overcame an ACL tear early in his career to lead the Broncos to a Super Bowl title two years later.
“I called Von and let him know that I was probably going to be down for the year just because I knew he went through the same thing in 2013 and his main message to me was, ‘It’s going to make you a better person, a better pro,“’ Chubb said.
Chubb didn’t realize he was seriously hurt even though he’d torn the same ligament before his senior year at Hillgrove High School in Powder Springs, Georgia.
“It’s crazy how that works. But that was my first injury. Like I said, it made me who I am today,” Chubb said. “I was in the hospital bed not knowing if I was going to get college offers and look where I am now.”
Chubb recovered and earned a scholarship offer to North Carolina State, where he collected 100 tackles and 25 sacks in four years and emerged as the top defender in last year’s draft.
“So, I can only imagine what this injury is going to do for me,” Chubb said. “I’m still young. Only in my second year. So, I’m just excited to get back and get into the rehab process. I mean, the technology from 2012 to now is 10 times different, so I know I’m going to be back even better.”
Chubb said he’s not worried this will chronic.
“No concern at all,” Chubb said. “I mean, it’s seven years apart and I made it through my senior year in high school, made it all through college, played 16 games last year. So, I mean, reinjuring it is not going to be on my mind at all. I know the person that I am. I’m not a fearful person. I’m not going to be thinking of this and that while I’m playing the game.”
The Broncos placed Chubb on IR Tuesday and signed outside linebacker Jeremiah Attaochu, a sixth-year free agent and former second-round pick of the Chargers. They also waived inside linebacker Keishawn Bierria and signed tackle Calvin Anderson off the Jets’ practice squad.
Chubb, the only player in the league with 80-plus tackles, 13-plus sacks and multiple forced fumbles (three) since 2018, said he hasn’t scheduled his surgery yet.
He said he plans to stay engaged with his teammates as they seek to bounce back from their bad start.
“Just because I’m sidelined with an injury doesn’t mean I can’t be Bradley Chubb,” he said. “So, my main thing is to just take as many positives as I can from this situation and just move forward.”
Subscribe to the sports newsletter
Get the day’s top sports headlines and breaking news delivered to your inbox by subscribing here.