Is Pittsburgh Steelers rookie wide receiver Chase Claypool this year’s training camp darling? While it’s hard to say for sure when most of us aren’t able to watch the team’s practices, the praise for Claypool from several of his teammates and coaches since training camp got underway, along with the various and numerous reports of him making plays every practice, sure makes it seem like the Notre Dame product is indeed this year’s training camp phenom. Recently, Claypool, the Steelers first draft selection this year, was interviewed by Missi Matthews of steelers.com and almost immediately he was asked if he’s hearing the same positive things internally that his coaches and teammates have been relaying to the media the last several weeks.
“Yeah, I’ve heard a couple of things through Twitter, but they don’t want to tell me too much in person because they don’t want me to kind of get ahead of myself,” Claypool said. “So, I just got to stay focused and finish strong.”
Claypool was then reminded that Steelers offensive coordinator Randy Fichtner said a few days ago that all the young wide receiver does is work, work, work and then shuts up. Claypool was then asked to comment on Fichtner’s assessment of him and if that’s always been his mindset when it comes to him attempting to transition into the NFL this offseason.
“Yeah, I think I’ve kind of developed that over the last few years,” Claypool told Matthews. “I think college was really big for me in kind of narrowing my focus down and just working and then learning when to ask questions when not to ask questions and be prepared and all that stuff. So, I feel like I’ve definitely peaked at the right time.”
While Roethlisberger has been one of the many new teammates to heavily praise the wide receiver’s abilities since training camp got underway, Claypool chose his words carefully when asked to describe his current relationship with the veteran quarterback and how important it is to continue to build it properly.
“Obviously, I just came in and he’s been here for a long time, so it’s not like we’re super close or anything,” Claypool said of Roethlisberger. “But he definitely is very helpful on the field with what he wants. And I’m not trying to push the agenda on anything with me and him because I know how long he’s been here and I know rookies like me, they come and go.”
A few of the things Roethlisberger recently praised Claypool for was his ability to catch on quickly to some signals along with his penchant to not make the same mistake twice. Claypool was asked to comment on that specific praise from the team’s veteran quarterback during his recent one-on-one interview with Matthews.
“Yeah, like there’s a couple of times where he has signaled me something and I was able to get it right,” Claypool said. “And then sometimes in the walkthrough, he tests me and I’m about like 50-50 now. And I don’t expect to get it all right. And I’m happy to know that if I do mess up, it won’t happen again. So, I don’t beat myself up over it. If I mess up, it’s just a learning experience. So, I don’t get too down on myself for that. And I think he understands that I’ll mess up once, as long as I don’t mess it up twice.”
With the start of the Steelers 2020 regular season now just a little more than two weeks away, Claypool seems poised to contribute some offensively right out of the chute. He’ll likely be part of a red zone package or two to start the season and if that’s the case, he could wind up being a new favorite target of Roethlisberger’s inside the opposition’s 20-yard-line right off the bat. Until we and Claypool wait to find out if that’s ultimately going to be the case, expect the young wide receiver to keep his nose down and do exactly what Roethlisberger tells him to do.
“So, I’m just going to try to stay humble about that and just let him teach me what he wants to teach me and then stay out of his way when that’s necessary,” Claypool said.