When the NFL announced the cancellation of its 2020 international series, most Broncos fans were probably disappointed. The team hasn't played abroad since 2010, and the previously reported matchup against the Falcons in London would have put the Broncos on a rare platform.
But in Denver, there was at least one person to see the game officially slated to remain in Atlanta: Bradley Chubb.
Following the Broncos' announcement of their full 2020 schedule, Chubb told DenverBroncos.com’s Sydney Jones that he understood the appeal of playing in London, but taking the field at Mercedes-Benz Stadium will have a special meaning for him.
"It would have been fun to go overseas and play a game in London and see that whole out-of-the-country feel," Chubb said during the interview with Jones and his teammate Courtland Sutton. "That would have been cool, but going back home and playing in front of my family, in front of all the people that raised me and helped me get to that point is going to be fun and kind of fulfilling, because it's like they saw all the hard work go in, and now they see kind of the finished product."
As Chubb recovers from a torn ACL that ended his 2019 season after just four games, being able to return to the game he loves and to play a game likely with his family and friends in the stands will add to the experience.
"I know he's probably excited to be able to get back on the field, just as excited as we are to have him back on the field," Sutton said. "And for him to be able to come home after having to wait out a whole season, I know he's excited to be able to lace the cleats back up and help us get 'dubs.'
"But to be able to do it in front of his family in Atlanta, I know he's expecting himself to probably have, like, 10 sacks. I'm looking forward to it, for sure."
The Broncos are set to play the Falcons in Week 9 on Nov. 8 at 11 a.m. MT on CBS.
Chubb and Sutton reflected on several other topics as they looked forward to the upcoming season during the live, 15-minute conversation. The following is just a collection of a few highlights from the video, so be sure to check out the full interview here.
'Run that back'
Sutton didn't want to mince words when it came to the Chiefs.
When he was asked about facing Kansas City, at first Sutton kept things broad.
"It's going to be a lot of fun, going to be a good test," Sutton said. "Every time we get to go against them, we're going to get to measure up and see where we are with the rest of the league."
But he was unsatisfied with what he said, and before the conversation could move forward, Sutton cut back in.
"Nah, nah, nah, nah, nah — run that back," Sutton said. "We're going to take care of what we've got to take care of to show that we are going in the direction that we want to get to, you feel me?"
The Broncos have been frustrated by the Chiefs in each of the last nine games and have not beat them since 2015. Sutton's comments, though, clearly indicate that he's confident he and his teammates can take charge to reverse that trend.
Taking down Tom?
With the likes of Drew Brees and Tom Brady coming to town this fall, there's no shortage of thrilling quarterback matchups on the schedule. As a pass-rusher, Chubb said those two in particular are ones he's looking forward to playing against just because of their legacies.
"Hugely excited," Chubb said of the opportunity. "Those are two of the best quarterbacks to ever play the game, and having the opportunity to line up against them. Watching them growing up and then just to be across from them and get the opportunity to sack them and stuff, it's just a dream come true. It's something you dream about as a kid, and I'm excited for that opportunity."
Asked to pick one quarterback he'd be most excited to see Chubb sack, Sutton could think of no other option than Brady, now with the Buccaneers (Week 3).
"I think every sack that he gets is fun to watch, but if I have to pick one, I mean, you gotta pick the GOAT," Sutton said. "Being able to get hands on him and get him to the ground and add that to your sack collection, I think that's one thing a lot of people will remember. It would be cool to see that happen for Bradley for sure."
Chubb, though, has his eyes squarely set on Week 1.
"I would have to say [Titans QB Ryan] Tannehill, because that's gonna be my first game back, that's going to be my first time in action since September," Chubb said. "Being able to go out there and even attempt to rush the quarterback is going to be a blessing in itself. So if I get him down, it's going to feel like a huge goal accomplished."
Seeing an old friend
When the Broncos take on the Chargers on Nov. 22 at Empower Field at Mile High, all eyes will be on Chris Harris Jr. The former Bronco stayed in the division by signing with the Chargers, and even though he's now a division rival, there will always be a soft spot in Broncos fans' hearts for the underdog who became an All-Pro.
And when Harris lines up against Sutton at some point during that game, it'll be a fun matchup to watch.
"I think it's going to be a fun challenge," Sutton said. "I think having some reps against him from my rookie year and this past year in camp and in practice, those are things that I'll get to be able to go back and re-evaluate when it comes to game-planning against them. But it's going to be a lot of fun. I think those guys are trying to keep up secondary-wise with what's going on in our division.
"It's going to be a lot of fun to go up against Chris, because Chris is a student of the game, a guy who demands excellence out of himself. So if you come ill-prepared to the game, he can embarrass you. It's going to be a fun matchup, and I'm looking forward to being able to line up across from him two separate times in the season."