ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Bradley Chubb wiped away his tears, bucked up his courage, then made a stunning revelation about his season-ending ACL injury.
"I’m happy this actually happened to me because I feel like in life, I was getting a little too complacent," Chubb said during his press conference Tuesday at Broncos’ headquarters. “With 12 sacks as a rookie, it’s kind of hard to keep that same grind, get that same thing. So I’m really happy that this happened to me because it’s a humbling experience.
"It’s going to get me back to that same guy that was hungry to get college offers, that same guy that was hungry to go out there and prove everybody wrong. I’m glad to be back in that same position."
Now that is the uncommon attitude or a rare athletic warrior. Chubb said he felt something go wrong with his knee a minute into the fourth quarter Sunday in the Broncos’ stomach-wrenching, 26-24, final-second home loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars. He did a few tests and it was determined the knee was stable enough to continue playing, even if there was some discomfort.
That is because it was a partially-torn ACL in his left knee. A full tear and Chubb would not have had any strength in the knee. He will get a second or third medical opinion before settling on a surgeon and his season-ending operation date.
"Like coach Fangio said yesterday, nobody was as surprised to know it was a partially torn ACL than myself," Chubb said. "It sucks right now, but it’s going to make me a better person. I’m looking forward to the journey."
Don’t misunderstand. Chubb allow himself a moment of grief Monday. When he first got the news, he called his mom and dad, who played football at Georgia, and then his older brother Brandon, who played linebacker at Wake Forest and has spent time with six NFL teams.
"I cried my eyes out to my mom, my dad, my brother," Bradley Chubb said. "They all were right there with me. At the end of the day, I can’t do anything about it just have to get better from it."
Here’s what is helping Chubb’s mindset: Exactly seven years earlier to the day – Sept. 29, 2012 -- when he was a junior at Hillgrove High School in Marietta, Ga., he suffered a torn ACL in the same left knee. He returned and was all that at North Carolina State, became the No. 5 overall draft choice by the Broncos last year, and broke Von Miller’s team rookie record with 12.0 sacks.
"It’s crazy how that works," Chubb said. "That was my first injury. Like I said, it made me who I am today. I remember I was in the hospital bed and I didn’t know if I was going to get college offers and stuff like that and look where I am now. I can only imagine what this injury is going to do for me. I’m 23 years old. I’m still young, only in my second year, and so I’m just excited to get back and get into the rehab process. 2012 to now is 10 times different. I know I’m going to be back even better."
To replace Chubb on the roster, the Broncos signed veteran outside linebacker Jeremiah Attaochu, who had 6.0 sacks for the Chargers in 2015 and 2.0 sacks in 11 games for the Jets last year. Attaochu was one of three linebackers who worked out for the Broncos on Tuesday morning.
The team will also give more playing time to rookies Justin Hollins and Malik Reed at Chubb’s position.
With special teams standout Joe Jones ready to return from his partially torn triceps injury, the Broncos waived special teams linebacker Keishawn Bierria and claimed offensive tackle Calvin Anderson off waivers from the New York Jets.
Bierria had only played special teams through the first four games this year. He had been active for all 20 games since he was drafted by the Broncos in the sixth round last year.
Anderson is considered a project. He grew up in Austin, Texas, started three years at Rice, then transferred and played his redshirt senior season for his hometown Texas Longhorns last year, starting 14 games at left tackle.
He went undrafted, then joined Texas teammate Andrew Beck in signing as a college free agent with the New England Patriots. Anderson was claimed off waivers a month later by the Jets and he just rejoined Beck as members of the Broncos' 53-man roster.
The Broncos hope to get starting right tackle Ja'Wuan James back from his knee sprain either for next week's game against Tennessee or the following Thursday night game, October 17 against the Kansas City Chiefs.
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