If you have followed Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Chase Claypool on his social media accounts since he was drafted by the team, you’ve probably seen him working out several times with former longtime Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh. On Thursday, Claypool had a session with the local media, his first since arriving for the team’s training camp, and during it he was asked about the time he spent training with Houshmandzadeh during the offseason and what the one-time Steelers nemesis thought about him now playing in Pittsburgh.
“Yes, I worked out with him in the pre-draft process all the way up until now, Claypool said. “So, I got a lot of work in with him and he was really excited for me where I went because he thought it was a great fit for me. And he thought I’d do really well just in the system. And we worked on a lot of things, but the two main things, I guess, was top of the route and then releases that we did. So, we did a lot of technique stuff within those two categories and the work with him definitely paid off.”
With Claypool being from Canada and spending a lot of his offseason training with Houshmandzadeh in California, he was ultimately only able to attend one of the pre training camp practice sessions that Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger put together. That one impromptu team session that Roethlisberger was a part of that Claypool was able to participate in evidently took place at Robert Morris University. Claypool talked briefly on Thursday about being able to catch passes from Roethlisberger.
“Yeah, it was tough to get that together because we had to make sure that we were kind of following those guidelines and staying safe, Claypool said. “But I was able to catch with him for a time. And it was really cool catching from a guy like Ben.”
While Claypool only was able to work on the field once with Roethlisberger during the offseason, he made it clear on Thursday that the Steelers quarterback gave him and the other young wide receivers some instruction during the virtual offseason sessions.
“We were in the virtual team meetings, we were in our little receivers and offensive meeting, we could always speak up and say something,” Claypool said. “Ben would always chip in and give us his point on a play, what he wants to see from us. That was pretty helpful in terms of what we should do and what should be expected.”
In addition to already getting some instruction from Roethlisberger both on and off the field this offseason, Claypool also indicated on Thursday that the other experienced wide receivers on the roster have been helping ease his transition from college to the NFL this offseason.
“We were in a group chat and then I was able to talk to them here and then a little bit before,” Claypool said of the Steelers wide receivers. “But I’ve felt really welcomed here because all the receivers are giving me their personal advice and their tips and tricks, and they’ve helped me learn the playbook. So, I think all the receivers honestly, [Ryan] Switzer, JuJu [Smith-Schuster], James Washington, Diontae [Johnson], all those guys, have really been helpful for my transition here. So, no one in particular that I gravitate towards and I think that’s a good thing.”
So, how does Claypool think he and the other young wide receivers on the roster feel like they’re adjusting with training camp now underway? According to Claypool, they’re leaning on each other quite a bit until the veteran wide receivers arrive.
“So, I’m with two other receivers, Anthony Johnson right now and Saeed Blacknall, and we’ve stuck pretty close in terms of communicating with each other in the playbook, because that’s like a super important thing,” Claypool said. “And then if we have any questions about anything, we kind of communicate within ourselves. And obviously as rookies we’re pretty unsure about what’s going to happen, so as soon as the vets come in, I guess they’ll probably maybe give us more insight.”