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Broncos' OLB Bradley Chubb on a Potential Return to Form: 'The Dam Has to Break'

Bradley Chubb is itching to prove his doubters wrong in 2022.
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One of the biggest question marks surrounding the 2022 Denver Broncos is the outlook of fifth-year rush linebacker Bradley Chubb. Selected with the No. 5 overall pick in the 2018 NFL draft (yes, over a quarterback), Chubb exploded on the scene initially, totaling 12 sacks as a rookie. 

Chubb became one of just a handful of pros in NFL history to produce 12 or more sacks as a rookie, falling short of the single-season record by 2.5. Since then, however, his NFL resume features a lone Pro Bowl selection in 2020 sandwiched between two seasons consumed by the injury bug.  

After missing most of the 2021 campaign with an ankle injury and failing to register even one sack, Chubb is a man with a mission. The Broncos opted to exercise his fifth-year option in the spring of 2021, locking him in at a premium for this coming season. 

How 2022 will unfold for Chubb is honestly anybody's guess but with all the work and rehabilitation he's put in, he senses the tide about to turn. The veteran edge rusher hosted his Chubb Foundation football camp at All-City Stadium on Tuesday, and Denver7's Troy Renck caught up with him to get a question or two in on his outlook. 

One unique aspect of the 2022 offseason was that it was Chubb's first, since his rookie year, without having to balance rehab along with football. He was healthy from the drop as the new year opened up and he feels that puts him on solid footing. 

”Yes, sir. I feel it for sure. It was one of those things that you go through so much, you know what I mean? The dam has to break at some point," Chubb told Renck. "I feel like things have been building up and building up and it’s finally time to let it all out."

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Chubb has felt freed to go out on the grass and just play football — be himself — without pain, doubt, or self-consciousness. He's 100% healthy entering training camp for the first time since 2018. 

"It’s been huge, to be honest with you, just because I am not worried, 'Is this going to be OK?' You have the mindset that, ‘I am good and I am just going to attack every day like it's my last,' and that’s what I have been doing this offseason, and it’s been working out for me," Chubb told Renck.

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The Broncos are hopeful that Chubb will indeed bounce back to form in 2022 but GM George Paton hedged just in case by signing tier-one free agent Randy Gregory and using the team's first draft pick this year (a second-rounder) to select Oklahoma's Nik Bonitto. 

Combined with all the Broncos' remaining cast of characters, and Chubb sees big things on the horizon for his unit now led by first-time defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero. 

"We have a chance to be special with the guys we have coming back," Chubb told Renck, "and the new guys we added."

In his four seasons with the Broncos, the 26-year-old Chubb has started 41 (of 65) games, racking up 20.5 sacks and 144 tackles (92 solo). Although he lost out to Indianapolis Colts linebacker Darius Leonard in the Defensive Rookie of the Year sweepstakes, Chubb did earn a 2020 Pro Bowl selection on the heels of a 7.5-sack campaign. 

Here's to hoping Chubb indeed returns to his 2018 production and reminds everyone why the Broncos drafted him with a top-5 pick. The arrival of a bonafide franchise quarterback in Russell Wilson should help Chubb in his effort to rebound by providing the defense with a truly dynamic offensive complement for the first time in the former N.C. State star's NFL career. 

Follow Chad on Twitter @ChadNJensen.

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