ENGLEWOOD, Colo. —** In the southern foothills of the Appalachian Mountains in the northwestern reaches of Georgia, you can find a small chapel that has gained plenty of renown in recent years as Bradley Chubb and second cousin Nick Chubb emerged as college football stars.
The Chubb Methodist Episcopal Church, which was entered into the National Register of Historic Places in 1990, of course shares their surname. It stands as a historic reminder of Chubbtown, a community founded in 1864 by Henry Chubb and his brothers, all freed black men.
In the embers of slavery in America, they started a small town in the vision of making a world they wanted to see.
Bradley Chubb, who the Broncos selected with the fifth-overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, arrived at UCHealth Training Center on Friday for a tour his new home. (Photos: Gabriel Christus)
Over 15 decades later, the descendants of the Chubb brothers have branched out to other parts of the state and the country, but the spirit that led to the founding of Chubbtown remains in every Chubb, including the newest Bronco.
"[It] was just a lot of hard work, and that's where I feel our hard work and background comes from," Bradley said.
"It means the world to me," said Bradley, when asked about what being a Chubb means. "I feel like growing up, my dad would make sure that he held us to a higher standard than everybody else around us, and I feel like that helped not only me, but my brother as well, to be great men. Being a Chubb is something different, and I've got to have a higher expectation for myself and for future generations to come, as well."
Bradley's parents, Aaron and Stacey, and his brother, Brandon, joined him on his trip to Denver and for his welcome tour at UCHealth Training Center, offering support as he took the next step on a path he'd dreamed of for years. When he got the call from John Elway, it was emotional for them, too.
"It was just a moment of joy and a moment of just relief for him and himself so he can start his journey," Aaron said.
"It's not even comparable, because you raise your kids to grow up to be strong men. And just for them to see the opportunity to get to the point where they can do what they want to do and to be able to know their dreams will come true, it's just a relief and a proud moment as a parent."
Raising Bradley to be strong wasn't just about being physically strong, but also cultivating a relentless drive. Ultimately that mental integrity was tough enough to help convince President of Football Operations/General Manager John Elway that Bradley was their man.
"I think what you'll really like about Bradley is not only his ability on the field, but also how he goes about playing the game," Elway said. "That is really what we're excited about, because I think it's contagious and he'll really rub off on the other guys we have on this football team."
It wasn't just Bradley's speed and skill that made him the fifth-overall pick; it was also his tenaciousness.
"I would describe myself as relentless," Bradley said. "That motor came from just always wanting to make plays. I always want to be around the ball. It's just something that I was raised with. If I'm going to do it, I'm going to do it 100 percent. That's my mindset every time I step on the field, and I feel like I bring that to the pass-rush game as well."
It's not hard to see how a relentless spirit could be passed down through generations in a family that survived the devastation that slavery wreaked and then built their own town in Georgia during the Civil War.
But the Chubbs are instilled with more than just determination. They also have a compassion for humanity that they have passed down.
"I was raised — and my wife, as well — we were raised to treat people how you want to be treated," Aaron said. "Treat people with respect and dignity, and in the process, reaching back and helping people less fortunate than you. And that's just one thing we try to instill in our kids, to be of service to other people. You've got people looking up to you and you've got a lot of people that's … not as fortunate as you are, so just being able to help a common man or common woman, just help them out. Just be good in that type of way."
Already, Bradley is part of a charitable foundation he runs with Brandon. The Chubb Foundation's mission is "to use sports as a platform to activate human potential." In 2017, the foundation sponsored five children to see a college football game at Georgia Tech, and in 2018 it will kick off the first annual Chubb Foundation Football Camp at the new home of the Atlanta Falcons, Mercedes Benz Stadium.
By bringing Bradley Chubb to Denver, it seems clear that the legacy of the Chubb family will make more than just the Broncos better.