NFL rookie wide receiver and B.C. native Chase Claypool is back home visiting family in the off season after etching his name into the Pittsburgh Steelers history books.
Claypool sat down, virtually, with the Langley Advance Times on Thursday to talk about his rookie season, plans for the offseason, and his predictions for the Super Bowl, which features a gripping matchup between quarterbacks, Tom Brady of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Patrick Mahomes of the Kansas City Chiefs.
Drafted by the Steelers in the second round – 49th overall– in the 2020 NFL Draft, Claypool finished the regular season with 62 receptions with a total of 873 yards, nine receiving touchdowns, and two rushing touchdowns.
Claypool’s nine touchdown receptions – the most for any rookie in 2020 – are tied for the most touchdown catches by a Steelers’ rookie in a single season, and his 62 receptions are the most by a Steelers’ rookie in a single season.
He became the first Steelers rookie in franchise history to score four touchdowns in a single game.
“I think it’s crazy,” the 22-year-old said about his record-breaking season.
Year 1 in the books.. been a hell of a ride full of obstacles and blessings. For the ones who have been in my corner throughout this journey, I truly do appreciate you and hope I can meet some of y’all next year. Until then, 11 out. 💛🖤 pic.twitter.com/ey1cKimObK
— Chase Claypool (@ChaseClaypool) January 12, 2021
“Breaking a couple of records, breaking some rookie records and some franchise records is insane to think about, [but] it’s not all you play for, you know, the records probably won’t be talked about that much.”
Instead, Claypool has his eyes on a Super Bowl victory.
“Hopefully we can stack some pretty good seasons together and head to the Super Bowl one of these years,” he said.
The 6’4” 238-pound wide receiver has been in White Rock for the last month with his family, where he purchased a townhome for his mom.
He would previously stay in Langley when he was visiting from college.
Claypool said he’ll be heading to California in three weeks time, where he’ll be starting his full time training program.
When asked which defensive back in the league proved to be a challenge for him this past season, Claypool was quick to note the talents of Houston Texans cornerback Bradley Roby.
But Claypool says the program down south will get him game ready; He admits the weather is not prime to be training outdoors here in B.C.
“Most of that game preparation, game day readiness, will be done in California, where I’ll be training with a Hall of Fame receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh,” he said. “Then I’ll be training [in a] weight room program… so I’ll be doing weight room stuff and field stuff, and then I’ll be doing treatment afterwards just to keep my body in tiptop shape.”
But before packing his bags Claypool will be watching the Super Bowl this Sunday.
“I think Kansas City is going to win,” he predicted.
“I think Patrick Mahomes and Tyreek Hill and [Travis] Kelce are too – are too good together. But I wouldn’t be surprised if Tom Brady puts together one of his Super Bowl performances that we all know… and pulls out a win.”
Claypool says he will be watching the game in White Rock.
“I’ll be watching on DAZN Canada,” he noted.
DAZN Canada is a sports subscription video streaming service.
The service will provide Super Bowl programming all week long, including a special Super Bowl preview and predictions show with Claypool.
The former Abbotsford Senior Secondary School student says it’s been special to represent Canada in the NFL and he hopes his journey inspires others.
“Hopefully [it] provides an outlet for athletes… maybe a sign of hope that they can play professionally.”
Although Claypool will be heading back to Pittsburgh, it’s unclear yet whether quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and wide receiver Juju Smith-Schuster will return for the 2021 season.
“I know JuJu for sure wants to come back, and I think Ben is just a matter of how his body’s feeling,” Claypool said.
“I know [Ben] got beat up pretty good this year, so [it’s] just [a matter of] how his body’s feeling, and how he’s feeling, he’s been in the league for a long time. It’d be nice to get both those guys back for next year.”
While the league awaits the news about Roethlisberger and Smith-Schuster returns to the Steelers, local fans this season can keep an eye out for Claypool’s touchdown celebrations as he hopes to give a nod to the hometown crowd.
But Claypool it still waiting for the creative spark to hit.
“I was honestly trying to think of something, but I don’t know what I would do that would be clearly Canadian,” he said. “So we’ll have to figure that out.”