It’s been a memorable offseason for Chris Hubbard. Once an afterthought as a UDFA years ago, he worked his way up the ladder to making the roster, earning a backup role, and then filling in admirably as a starter last season. That hard work turned itself into a five year contract with the Cleveland Browns.
As exciting as that is for Hubbard and his family, that also means leaving the only place he’s ever played professional football. Hubbard took to Instagram Wednesday morning to say goodbye to the city.
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Today is a bittersweet day for me and my family. Tomorrow we embark on a new journey to Cleveland! Pittsburgh has been so good to us, this is where they gave us an opportunity to be able to call a place home. We have been here for 5 Years during the time we have created great relationships with many wonderful people. I want to thank the fans of Pittsburgh thank you for believing in me you guys mean the world to me I can’t thank you enough. To the organization of the Steelers, thank you for giving me a shot to show what I can do. You guys will forever hold a special place in my heart. I’m excited for the new opportunity and what’s going to take place! Cleveland let’s get to work!
In part, Hubbard writes: “To the organization of the Steelers, thank you for giving me a shot to show what I can do. You guys will forever hold a special place in my heart.”
Several current and former players commented on the post, including Marcus Gilbert, Anthony Chickillo, and Terence Garvin.
Hubbard is expected to be Cleveland’s starting right tackle in 2018 and hopefully, well beyond that. Pittsburgh is normally good about holding onto their free agents but obviously, it was impossible to keep Hubbard around. There was no starting role in Pittsburgh and no, they weren’t going to trade Gilbert, and the Browns’ price tag is exponentially more than what the Steelers could offer in a backup role.
For the Steelers, they’ll look to Jerald Hawkins and Matt Feiler to replace Hubbard. It’s also possible they draft an offensive linemen late in the draft or if not, add a high priority undrafted free agent.
Of course, for as much as Hubbard may miss the city, he’ll get to make a trip back to Pittsburgh once a season.