PTI’s Tony Kornheiser: Steelers Canadian rookie Chase Claypool ‘may be the next Hines Ward’

Photos courtesy: Pittsburgh Steelers

Pardon The Interruption, but Chase Claypool flashed his potential for greatness on Sunday.

Claypool’s historic four touchdown performance grabbed the attention of the long-running ESPN sports talk show. Host Tony Kornheiser mentioned the 22-year-old Canadian rookie in the same breath as Pittsburgh’s all-time franchise-leading receiver.

“Good for Claypool. He may be the next Hines Ward,” Kornheiser said on PTI.

Ward played his entire career in black and gold, 14 seasons in all. The six-foot, 205-pound pass catcher was ultra physical and productive for Pittsburgh. He recorded 1,000 receptions for 12,083 yards and 85 touchdowns in 217 games — top of the list in each category for the storied Steelers.

After being selected in the third round, 92nd overall during the 1998 NFL draft, Ward earned his way to four Pro Bowls, selected second-team All-Pro three times, played a key role in two NFL titles and earned Super Bowl XL MVP honours.

Ben Roethlisberger played with Ward for his final eight seasons, including both Super Bowl victories. Roethlisberger knows how to develop a rapport with veterans and young pros. Claypool connected with Big Ben seven times for 110 yards and three touchdowns to go with one rushing touchdown in a breakout game for the ages against Philadelphia in Week 5.

Through four NFL games, Claypool has caught 13 passes for 261 yards and four touchdowns. He’s averaging 65.25 receiving yards per game, which puts him on pace for over 1,000 yards on the year. Even though it’s a long way from 14 seasons in the league, Ward averaged 55.68 yards per game.

Claypool needs to prove he can have the longevity in a sport that guarantees anything but in order to join Ward as a member of the Steelers all-time team.

Justin Dunk is a football insider, sports reporter and anchor.