Rookie year for any player brings ton of challenges. New city, new coaches, new system, new expectations. It’s a lot to take in. 2020 adds another layer to those adjustments. The COVID pandemic creates a football environment we’ve never seen before, one the sports world is trying to navigate together.
Second round pick Chase Claypool discussed how he’s living life during the crisis and the guidelines the NFL’s set to ensure player safety.
“Because there aren’t those physical bubbles, but it’s kind of a honor system with the NFL right now,” he said on the Youtube show 4th and Forever, which I’ll link below. “And they’re expecting you to go straight home.”
Long ago, the NFL opted against the bubble approach chosen by the NHL and MLB. Now, the league looks to avoid the pitfalls laid out by the MLB, whose season was almost immediately threatened by outbreaks across multiple teams.
The league is copying the NBA’s approach of a COVID hotline for players to report any violations of safety protocol.
The NFLPA today sent players a phone number for them to report NFL teams’ violations of the agreed upon COVID-19 protocols, sources say. Players can text the number but they will remain anonymous. The union can file a grievance on players’ behalves for perceived violations.
— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) August 5, 2020
As for players like Claypool, life largely revolves around going to practice and coming home to his new Pittsburgh apartment.
“So we got an email from the NFLPA kind of listing all the things that we can can’t do. And a lot of it is like common sense. Obviously we’re not in a bubble and they can’t really mandate control everything that we do.”
The NFL is strongly discouraging, and possibly prohibiting, players from attending large gatherings of people. The more players who stay home and stay away from crowds, the lower the chances there will be an outbreak in locker rooms. A Miami Marlins’ type situation where half the roster tests positive would be disastrous for an NFL team and unlike the MLB, the NFL is a much shorter season and you can’t have any Sunday double-headers.
Putting perspective to the situation, Claypool said following the rules is a small price to pay in order to have a season.
“So it’s more of like, how much do you care and how much do you want there to be a season?”
Claypool’s also found things to keep him busy at home. There’s the normal 20-something things like video games and watching TV. Claypool’s also started his own Youtube channel, posting his first video late last month of his Pittsburgh arrival.
He won’t be the first Steelers’ wideout to go the Youtube route. JuJu Smith-Schuster has created an extremely popular – and profitable – channel, now up to over one million subscribers. His most viewed video has over eight million clicks. Claypool’s channel is a drop in the bucket compared to that, just over 4600 subscribers, but his base will surely grow throughout his rookie year (I’m sorry for sounding like Darren Rovell here).
Check out the entire conversation below.