Chase Claypool shared a photo of the tribute he made to fallen former Abbotsford Panthers teammate Samwel Uko during his NFL debut on Monday night. (Twitter photo)

Chase Claypool shared a photo of the tribute he made to fallen former Abbotsford Panthers teammate Samwel Uko during his NFL debut on Monday night. (Twitter photo)

Abbotsford’s Chase Claypool honours fallen teammate Samwel Uko in NFL debut

Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver wears wrist tape bearing last name of friend and teammate

Chase Claypool’s Grade 12 football season with the Abbotsford Panthers was one to remember.

He helped lead the Panthers to the AA provincial title game and was named the tier’s player of the year for 2015, but he also passed the Panthers torch to a young Grade 10 player that year – Samwel Uko.

Uko scored two touchdowns in that 2015 AA provincial title game and went on to have a successful high school football career in his own right, leading the Panthers back to the AA provincial title game in 2017.

Uko’s death back in May sent shockwaves throughout the B.C. football community, and obviously touched the teammate he looked up to as a Grade 10 rookie.

Claypool, who made his debut in the National Football League with the Pittsburgh Steelers on Monday, honoured his departed teammate and friend by writing his last name in the wrist tape he wore during the Steelers 26-16 win.

RELATED: Abbotsford’s Chase Claypool makes NFL debut with Pittsburgh Steelers

Panthers head coach Jay Fujimura tweeted out that he was moved by the gesture and believes that somewhere Uko is smiling at the decision to honour him.

“Class act Chase Claypool,” the Abby Panthers football account posted. “He looked up to you so much. I know he’s smiling right now. Great first game on top of it. Panther pride!”

Justin Paul, Uko’s uncle and the man who has acted as an unofficial spokesperson for the family during the news surrounding his death, told The News that he is honoured to see Claypool remember his nephew in such a thoughtful way.

“We really appreciate and thank that Samwel’s friends are still keeping his memory alive, that means so much to us – it brings peace into our heart,” he said. “We really thank Chase. God bless him.”

Paul added that it was inspiring to see Uko on Claypool’s wrist tape and it’s a nice moment in what has been a difficult few months for his family.

The photo seems to indicate that Claypool will be honouring Uko for the entire season.

Uko was found dead in Wascana Lake in Regina, Sask. on May 21 at the age of 20. After an excellent high school career with the Panthers, he played one year with the University of Saskatchewan Huskies and most recently played one season with the Langley Rams of the Canadian Junior Football League.

Claypool’s debut with the Steelers was a solid one, as he collected 48 yards total offence in the team’s win.

RELATED: Abbotsford football star Samwel Uko dies at age 20

FootballNational Football LeagueNFL

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

About 150 guests attended the 16th annual Maple Ridge Pitt Meadows Chamber of Commerce Business Excellence Awards. (The News files)
Parker Kaumi, 6, and his mother, Lauren, baked cookies to raise money for the Canucks Autism Network. (Chris Kaumi/Special to The News)
Maple Ridge mother and son bake cookies for Canucks Autism Network

Raise $1,200 for the organization that offers activities and programs to children and youth with autism

If you have a letter you’d like to submit to the editor for consideration, please email us at <a href="mailto:editor@mapleridgenews.com"><strong>editor@mapleridgenews.com</strong></a>. Look forward to hearing your thoughts.
LETTER: ‘Maybe it’s time for a long second look’

Good news and more bad news on the Site C project and billions being spent to make it happen

Food For The Soul is offering support for the homeless population from its store on the Lougheed Highway in downtown Maple Ridge. (The News files)
LETTER: Maple Ridge’s Food For The Soul Project doing great work

Society working with homeless population in the community

The Writing Home free creative writing workshops will run for eight weeks beginning Jan. 29. (Special to The News)
Creative writing workshops for immigrant women this month

Writing Home is for newcomers to Canada living in Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows

Keith the curious kitten is seen on Nov. 4, 2020 at the Chilliwack SPCA. Friday, Jan. 22, 2021 is Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Jan. 17 to 23

Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day, Pie Day and International Sweatpants Day are all coming up this week

(Photo by Kevin Hill)
40 cases linked to Surrey Memorial Hospital COVID-19 outbreak

Fraser Health says two death are associated with the outbreak

JaHyung Lee, “Canada’s oldest senior” at 110 years old, received his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. He lives at Amenida Seniors Community in Newton. (Submitted photo: Amenida Seniors Community)
Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Sooke’s Jim Bottomley is among a handful of futurists based in Canada. “I want to help people understand the future of humanity.” (Aaron Guillen - Sooke News Mirror)
No crystal ball: B.C. man reveals how he makes his living predicting the future

63-year-old has worked analytical magic for politicians, car brands, and cosmetic companies

A unique-looking deer has been visiting a Nanoose Bay property with its mother. (Frieda Van der Ree photo)
A deer with 3 ears? Unique animal routinely visits B.C. property

Experts say interesting look may be result of an injury rather than an odd birth defect

Terry David Mulligan. (Submitted photo)
Podcast: Interview with longtime actor/broadcaster and B.C. resident Terry David Mulligan

Podcast: Talk includes TDM’s RCMP career, radio, TV, wine, Janis Joplin and much more

Seasonal influenza vaccine is administered starting each fall in B.C. and around the world. (Langley Advance Times)
After 30,000 tests, influenza virtually nowhere to be found in B.C.

COVID-19 precautions have eliminated seasonal infection

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau listens to a question during a news conference outside Rideau cottage in Ottawa, Friday, January 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau says Canada’s COVID vaccine plan on track despite Pfizer cutting back deliveries

Canadian officials say country will still likely receive four million doses by the end of March

Most Read