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“Jerome Ford Set to Assume Lead Role as Browns’ Top Running Back Following Nick Chubb; Kareem Hunt’s Reported Visit”

Cleveland Browns Coach Kevin Stefanski Plans to Add a Running Back Post-Nick Chubb’s Injury; Jerome Ford Assumes Featured Back Role; Kareem Hunt Visits”
Cleveland Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski confirmed on Tuesday that the team will seek to acquire another running back following Nick Chubb’s season-ending knee injury. However, Stefanski also stated that Jerome Ford will step into the spotlight as the team’s primary running back.
Shortly after Stefanski’s announcement, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that former Browns running back Kareem Hunt was in discussions with the team.
This announcement comes on the heels of Chubb’s significant knee injury sustained during a game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. While an official diagnosis has yet to be announced, Stefanski confirmed the gravity of Chubb’s knee injury on Monday night. Chubb’s left knee suffered an unfortunate twist during a tackle against the Steelers.
The injury is a significant setback for both Chubb and the Browns. Chubb is a prominent team leader and one of the NFL’s top running backs, boasting four consecutive seasons of over 1,000 rushing yards, multiple Pro Bowl selections, and a second-team All-Pro distinction in 2022. It’s worth noting that this injury is to the same knee that underwent reconstructive surgery during Chubb’s college career, addressing multiple ligament tears, including his ACL.

“You don’t replace Nick Chubb,” Stefanksi said. “You just don’t do that. Great players in the league, you look around, they go out — it’s always not one person that replaces a player of his caliber.

“Everybody’s got to do a little bit more. But we’ll look at options there in terms of who we’ll bring in.”

The Browns opted for Ford in the fifth round of the 2022 NFL Draft, selecting him from the University of Cincinnati. In his rookie season, he had limited opportunities playing behind Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt, amassing just 12 yards on eight carries. Entering the 2023 season, Ford was designated as Chubb’s primary backup and has recorded 142 rushing yards on 31 carries in the first two games.
Ford began his college journey at the University of Alabama, joining the Crimson Tide in 2018 as a three-star recruit. During his time at Alabama, he had limited playing time, carrying the ball only 31 times over two seasons, as he was in the shadow of future NFL running backs like Damien Harris, Najee Harris, Josh Jacobs, and Brian Robinson. After two seasons, he transferred to the University of Cincinnati.
At Cincinnati, Ford had two productive seasons, breaking out as the team’s featured back in 2021. He accumulated 1,539 yards from scrimmage and scored 20 touchdowns, earning first-team All-AAC honors. Ford showcased his speed at the NFL combine with a 4.46-second 40-yard dash, which caught the Browns’ attention, leading to his selection to provide depth behind Chubb and Hunt.
Currently, the Browns have second-year running back Pierre Strong Jr. as the only option behind Ford on their depth chart. Strong had a limited role during his rookie season with the New England Patriots, gaining 100 yards on 10 carries. In the first two games of the 2023 season with the Browns, Strong has carried the ball twice for a total of one yard and a touchdown.
Coach Stefanski did not disclose the specific target for the Browns’ running back signing. Kareem Hunt, who is currently a free agent, remains a viable option. Hunt, a veteran of six NFL seasons, compiled 678 yards from scrimmage and four touchdowns while averaging 3.9 yards per carry in the previous season.

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