The first two weeks of Monday Night Football for the 2023 NFL season have featured season-ending injuries to some of the top stars in the league. New York Jets quarterback Aaron Rodgers in Week 1, and Week 2, Cleveland Browns running back Nick Chubb.
In the Browns' game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Chubb was hit in the knee on a tackle made by safety Minkah Fitzpatrick, which caused it to buckle awkwardly. There are no details as to what the full extent of the injury was, but it was enough to knock Chubb out for the remainder of the season.
Fitzpatrick had gotten criticized for his hit, which was low, while Chubb was getting tackled high by linebacker Cole Holcomb. The defensive back said that he wasn't intentionally trying to injure him. Browns safety Grant Delpit came to the defense of Fitzpatrick and he's not the only member of Cleveland to back the Steelers safety.
Browns defensive lineman Myles Garrett told reporters on Friday that he didn't feel Fitzpatrick's hit was illegal.
Myles Garrett defends Minkah Fitzpatrick after tackle leads to season-ending injury for Nick Chubb
“Minkah didn't do anything illegal,” said Garrett, h/t ProFootballTalk. “He was playing the game how it’s supposed to be played. It was very unfortunate what happened — Nick getting held up but just having, just planting his foot and the hit and all that. That’s not unlike what corners around the league do. This is something that’s very common.”
This past Thursday, Fitzpatrick spoke with reporters and assured those he had no ill will on his tackle on Chubb, saying that he's not a dirty player. Fitzpatrick also said that he told Chubb before he left the game that he had no intention to injure him.
"It's very unfortunate. It's a tough, tough injury," Fitzpatrick said, h/t ESPN.com. "Unfortunately, part of the game that we play. I know there's people that (thought I) had ill will behind the tackle. It's not the case whatsoever. I'm a guy that's a competitor who's going to go out there and play the game. I'm chippy. I'm edgy, of course, but I'm not a dirty player. I'm not going to sit here and defend my character. I know the type of player I am. Chubb knows the type of player I am. I've played against him a bunch in the past. Five years, two times a year. I love competing against him. He brings the best out of me, and I bring the best out of him."
Chubb's injury was to his left knee, which he hurt back in 2015 when playing for the Georgia Bulldogs. Chubb had torn his MCL, LCL, and PCL, suffered ligament damage, and a dislocation. CBS Sports' Josina Anderson reported that there's a possibility that Chubb could require two surgeries but noted at the time that it was still too early to know if that was the plan that the team and running back would go with.
To fill in their depth chart, the Browns brought back Kareem Hunt on a one-year, $4 million contract for this season. Hunt had been a free agent throughout the offseason after playing for Cleveland from 2019 until 2022.
Fitzpatrick had received some flak from those who felt that he deliberately injured Chubb. Players on the Browns, like Garrett and Delpit, are coming to Fitzpatrick's aid to let everyone know that the tackle on Chubb wasn't illegal or intentional.