ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Bradley Chubb has dealt with this before.
He’s suffered a major injury before, he’s had surgery before, and he’s rehabbed before.
Chubb has returned before.
Nearly seven years to the day before the Broncos’ outside linebacker suffered a partial ACL tear against the Jaguars, Chubb tore the same ACL on a high school football field in Smyrna, Georgia.
“That was my first injury,” Chubb said Tuesday. “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.”
On a September evening in 2012, Chubb was beginning to find his rhythm as a junior defensive end for the Hillgrove Hawks. He had only recently switched to the position after spending time at linebacker and a few other positions.
His high school head coach, Phillip Ironside, had wanted Chubb to start as defensive end as a freshman, but the future fifth-overall pick resisted the move.
“He kind of balked at it and wanted to be other things, because he was a running back in middle school,” Ironside told DenverBroncos.com on Tuesday. “He had always been a kid that had been on his feet. He was a basketball player, and he was a good athlete. But you could just look at him and tell he was going to be big and long and that’s who he is [now].
“That [season] was the first time we got him to do it. That was about the time he started having success doing it, and then he gets hurt. It was kind of a setback for all of us.”
Chubb said he suffered the non-contact injury while running during a play — and it ended his junior season.