Cleveland Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski told reporters Tuesday that the team will look to add another running back with Nick Chubb injured but that Jerome Ford will take over as the offense's featured back.
After Stefanski's announcement, ESPN's Adam Schefter reported that former Browns running back Kareem Hunt was visiting with the team.
Stefanski made the announcement a day after Chubb sustained a season-ending knee injury against the Pittsburgh Steelers. The team hasn't yet announced an official diagnosis for Chubb, but Stefanski confirmed Monday night that the injury to his knee was "significant." Chubb's left knee got bent the wrong way on a tackle against Pittsburgh.
The injury is a difficult blow for both Chubb and the Browns. Chubb is a team leader and one of the NFL's best running backs. He's eclipsed 1,000 rushing yards and was named to the Pro Bowl in each of the last four seasons. He was named second-team All-Pro in 2022. The injury is to the same knee that required reconstructive surgery in college after he tore multiple ligaments 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."
Who is Jerome Ford?
The Browns selected Ford out of Cincinnati in the fifth round of the 2022 Draft. He saw limited action as a rookie behind Chubb and Kareem Hunt, tallying 12 yards on eight carries. He entered the 2023 season as Chubb's primary backup and has 142 yards on 31 carries through two games.
Ford started his college career at Alabama, joining the Crimson Tide as a three-star prospect in 2018. He carried the ball just 31 times in two seasons at Alabama while sitting behind fellow future NFL backs Damien Harris, Najee Harris, Josh Jacobs and Brian Robinson. He transferred to Cincinnati after two seasons.
Ford played two seasons at Cincinnati and broke out as the team's featured back in 2021, tallying 1,539 yards from scrimmage and 20 touchdowns, earning first-team All-AAC honors. He ran a 4.46-second 40-yard dash at the NFL combine before the Browns drafted him to provide depth behind Chubb and Hunt.
Second-year back Pierre Strong Jr. is the only running back on the Browns' depth chart behind Ford. He tallied 100 yards on 10 carries as a rookie with the New England Patriots. He's carried the ball just twice for a single yard and a touchdown in Cleveland's first two games.
Stefanski didn't say who the Browns were targeting to sign. Hunt remains a free agent after the Browns declined to re-sign him during the offseason and makes sense as an option. The six-season NFL veteran tallied 678 yards from scrimmage and four touchdowns while averaging 3.9 yards per carry last season.