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Steelers WR2 Chase Claypool Evolving As A Leader; Acknowledges Need To Channel His Emotions Better

Abigail Dean/Pittsburgh Steelers

Steelers WR2 Chase Claypool Evolving As A Leader; Acknowledges Need To Channel His Emotions Better

Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver, Chase Claypool will be in a different role for 2022. He’ll remain one of the team’s primary options, but he will need to be more of a leader on offense. The previous veteran of the group, JuJu Smith-Schuster, is no longer with the team. The leader of the whole offensive side of the ball, Ben Roethlisberger, is now retired.

As a result, the Steelers have a very young offense, including the wide receiver room. Claypool and Diontae Johnson, the two main returning guys in the WR room, will need to step up as leaders. Head coach Mike Tomlin has spoke about Johnson stepping up that part of his game, and now Claypool has as well.

“I think you’re right in the sense where it’s like you do have to tone it down at times because you know last year, there was a couple times where I let my emotion get the best of me with some unsportsmanlike conduct [penalties],” said Claypool.

Claypool talked about this stuff in an appearance on the Varsity House podcast, as fellow Steelers Minkah Fitzpatrick and Miles Boykin were there as well. Much like rookies Calvin Austin III and George Pickens, Boykin is a newcomer to Pittsburgh this season. Boykin spent his first three NFL seasons with the Baltimore Ravens and now, Claypool is taking him under his wing in helping Boykin get acclimated to a new city. The two were teammates at Notre Dame and are friends as well, so the connection was already there.

Steelers Boykin and Claypool

Miles Boykin and Chase Claypool at Notre Dame. / Photo (WNDU)

It shows Claypool’s evolution as a leader as he continues to mature. Part of becoming a leader is being accountable for one’s own actions. Claypool, known for being passionate on the field, had multiple instances in 2021 in which his emotions got the best of him. He acknowledged that, and in turn, is learning how to better channel his emotions on the field.

“I’m an emotional player. I’ve got to channel it the right way. Usually, I do it throughout the game to my benefit, but I just got to make sure I don’t let that slip. I just care so much about the outcome of the game that I sometimes let my emotion get the best of me.”

Claypool endured several ups-and-downs in his sophomore season in 2021. As he mentioned, he had multiple unsportsmanlike conduct penalties called on him. They were often times due to his emotions getting the best of him. Many reference his incident in the Minnesota Vikings game in which he celebrated a first down as clock was winding down. Boykin, having spent time with Claypool personally and on the same team as him, weighed in on the controversy and criticism that Claypool received.

Steelers WR Boykin’s thoughts:

“Since I’ve known you, yeah you’ve been an emotional player, but not one time have I thought this person doesn’t care about the game. Some people get that twisted in terms of when they look at an emotional player, like he doesn’t care about his team, teammates. I’ve never ever felt that way about you as a teammate. Going into war, you’re one of the first people I want to pick.”

The Steelers need a better version of Chase Claypool in 2022. This involves leadership-wise, as well as his performance on the field. A more mature version of Claypool would only help the team’s prospects of reaching its full potential.

 

What are your guys’ prediction for Claypool this season? Are you optimistic of him as not only a WR, but stepping up as a leader as well? Let us know your thoughts on this topic in the comment section below!

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Credit to my dad, I have been a lifelong Steelers fan. I have fond memories of watching the Steelers win two Super Bowls when I was a little kid. I have only been to 1 Steelers game in my life, which was in Kansas City. That was the notorious game where Antonio Brown pinned it against his chest down the sidelines for a touchdown. I hope to get to Heinz Field some day! I graduated from Iowa State University and look forward to growing as a writer with #SteelerNation!

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