ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Four games into 2019, Bradley Chubb had his second NFL season cut short.
In an October game against the Jaguars, Chubb suffered a partial tear to his ACL. While he finished the game, his season was over.
Chubb was placed on injured reserve the following week and underwent surgery soon after. He's since started to rehab, with his eyes on a 2020 return to the type of dominant play he offered as a rookie.
As the fifth-overall pick from NC State, Chubb recorded a franchise rookie record with 12 sacks in 2018.
Chubb has progressed in his rehab over the previous few months, and Head Coach Vic Fangio said at the 2020 NFL Combine that he'd be shocked if Chubb isn't "as good as new."
Fangio also said he doesn't expect Chubb to participate in any "football stuff" until training camp.
A former Broncos outside linebacker knows what it will take for Chubb to return to his previous form when he finally gets to the field. DeMarcus Ware, who served as a pass-rush consultant for the Broncos in 2018, worked with Chubb as a rookie. And he knows Chubb has what it takes to make his way back.
"The thing is the mentality of 'I can't be stopped,'" Ware said last week. "And I know that Bradley Chubb, he has that mentality. No matter what type of injury you have, you can come back from it if you work hard enough, and I know he's going to come back stronger. Just from talking to him, he's working out really, really hard. Even for me being a pass-rush consultant there with the Denver Broncos, I knew that he was going to be special. You can see year after year, he actually improved monumentally. Now I know that, especially with Von [Miller] going through an injury like that as well, I know Von is actually there teaching him and telling him, 'Hey, this is how and what I did coming from this injury.' That's one thing a lot of guys don't have, is another guy that's actually experienced it.
"And Von came back even stronger. I know Bradley Chubb will as well."
Miller suffered a torn ACL in 2013 and rebounded in 2014 with 14 sacks.
Chubb said in a recent Instagram Live takeover with the Broncos that he's rehabbed with Denver's training staff on a daily basis to ensure he has no setbacks.
"I'm excited to be a part of it," Chubb said. "I'm excited to get back. … [I'm] rushing in my head and doing all the things I'm supposed to be doing to get back on that field. I'm excited to join this defense once again. They finished the year off strong. It was hard watching it from the sideline, but at the end of the day, they did what they had to do, and now it's going to be my time to come in and do what I have to do."
When he does return, his former pass-rush consultant will be watching — and for good reason. Ware said No. 55 has certain qualities that he shares with No. 94.
"I am really eager to see him on the field, because he reminds me of myself when I played, but just actually a little bit bigger and stronger," Ware said. "I don't know about faster, but I know bigger and stronger. Just to see him from coaching him and talking to him and mentoring him, to have a guy come back from a season-ending injury, come back stronger and play even better, [that] would be one of those things like a proud dad would want to see, and see him really excel and do well."