Bradley Chubb activated off IR; Chargers head coach Staley eager to see mentor and star pupil

Denver Broncos

Denver Broncos outside linebacker Bradley Chubb takes part in drills during an NFL football practice at the team’s headquarters Thursday, Sept. 9, 2021, in Englewood, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (KDVR/AP) — The Denver Broncos activated outside linebacker Bradley Chubb from the injured reserve list after missing the last eight games due to an ankle injury.

The 25-year-old Chubb is expected to start against the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday, facing one of his former coaches.

Before becoming the Chargers head coach, Brandon Staley was hired by Broncos head coach Vic Fangio when he was in Chicago in 2017. Staley served as the Bears’ outside linebackers coach for two seasons before Fangio took him with him when he left to come to the Broncos in 2019.

Staley coached and took a liking to Chubb, but spent a short time together before Chubb sustained a season-ending knee injury.

When Chubb returned in 2020 to embark on a Pro Bowl comeback, Staley was burnishing his head coaching credentials by leading the Rams’ top-ranked offense as their coordinator, a performance he parlayed into the Chargers’ head coaching job this year at age 38.

Staley said he wouldn’t have gotten the gig were it not for Fangio and Chubb.

Winning Fangio over in that first interview in Chicago “changed me and I’m forever grateful,” said Staley, who found another life-changer in Chubb.

“Bradley Chubb means a lot to my family and I, and he’s one of my favorite players that I’ve ever coached,” Staley said. “I have as much confidence in him as any player that I’ve ever coached and I have so much belief in the type of person that he is, the type of leader that he is, the type of competitor he is. I wouldn’t be here without him.”

Staley said having only four games together is one of his biggest career regrets. He was Chubb’s biggest fan last year when Chubb capped his comeback with a tearful Pro Bowl berth, and he’s eager to see him return from his ankle operation even if that makes life harder for Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert on Sunday.

“I’m looking forward to him getting back on that field where he belongs,” Staley said. “He’s one of the top rushers in the game and I’m just praying that he gets back fast. He means a lot to me. He’s the best of the best.”

Fangio said Chubb will be a game-time decision. If he plays, he’ll be limited to 20 snaps or so, enough to help the Broncos set the edge as they try to throttle running back Austin Ekeler, who scored four times in a win over Pittsburgh last week.

The Broncos also activated tackle Quinn Bailey from the practice squad to the active roster. Bailey is a first-year offensive lineman from Arizona State University who played his first game this season in Week 10, logging five total snaps.

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