Backup running back Jerome Ford played admirably on Monday Night Football against the Pittsburgh Steelers following what appeared to be a season-ending injury to Chubb’s left leg, which the MNF crew chose not to show on replay due to the gruesome nature of the contact. It can be viewed here, via a post to X.
While Ford figures to be Cleveland’s immediate answer, broadcaster Troy Aikman suggested after Chubb’s injury that the Browns look to reunite with former running back Kareem Hunt who spent the last four seasons with the team before departing via free agency in March.
Kareem Hunt Makes Most Sense as Addition to Browns’ RB Room
While there was some speculation about a reunion with Hunt ahead of the regular season, the Browns put that notion to bed over the summer.
“I do think the Browns will add another running back before the season, but it won’t be a big-name back such as a Dalvin Cook or Ezekiel Elliott, and they won’t re-sign Kareem Hunt,” Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com wrote on June 18. “I think it will be a potential No. 3 back behind Nick Chubb and Jerome Ford who can serve as a solid No. 2 in the event of injury, and churn out 100 yards if both Chubb and Ford are hurt.”
Whether Pierre Strong Jr. is that player remains to be seen. He played sparingly Monday night, even after doctors carted Chubb off the field. Cleveland acquired Strong via a trade with the New England Patriots on August 27, parting ways with offensive lineman Tyrone Wheatley Jr. to make the deal happen.
The Browns, however, know exactly who they would be getting in Hunt if they choose to add him back to the fold. The player and team had a dispute over money that resulted in a trade request ahead of the 2022 campaign, and seeking the best deal possible has presumably played a role in the 28-year-old remaining a free agent two games into the new season. The RB most recently played out a two-year, $12 million deal with the Browns that ended this spring.
Hunt knows the system well after backing up Chubb for four seasons. During that time, Hunt amassed 1,874 rushing yards and 16 touchdowns, per Pro Football Reference. He also tallied 132 receptions for 973 yards and seven scores. Hunt won an NFL rushing title as a rookie with the Kansas City Chiefs in 2017, gaining 1,327 yards on the ground.
Jerome Ford’s Injury History, Inexperience Make Signing of Kareem Hunt Logical Option for Browns
As solid as Ford looked Monday night, he has a noteworthy history of injury just 19 games into his professional career.
Serving as the team’s primary kickoff returner in 2022, Ford missed four games on the injured reserve list (IR) with an ankle injury. He was also out for several weeks in August after sustaining a hamstring injury during the preseason.
Ford is a second-year player who the Browns selected in the fifth round of the 2022 NFL Draft. He posted the longest run of his career, a 69-yarder that led to a third-quarter touchdown and a 22-19 Browns’ lead at that point in the game. At the end of that stanza, Ford had amassed 77 rushing yards on 6 carries and 25 yards on 3 receptions, including a touchdown.