Pittsburgh Steelers Canadian Chase Claypool may have let the hype get to his head while bursting onto the NFL scene as a rookie.
Steelers team reporter Bob Labriola has unique behind the scenes access and delivered a pointed take on Claypool on the franchise’s website.
“Claypool didn’t need very long to establish himself as a difference-maker, as a receiver capable of making plays down the field, and he was the offence’s primary deep threat throughout the season. If there was a negative, it was that it seemed as though Claypool’s diva quotient increased consistently over the course of his rookie season. Whether that turns into a problem or comes to be viewed in the future as growing pains will develop over time.”
The rookie receiver played a key role in Pittsburgh producing a 12-4 record to earn the AFC North Division title, but aside from stating the Browns were going to ‘get clapped‘ in the AFC Wild Card round and calling Cleveland ‘classless‘ after the loss, there were no public displays of being a diva.
Claypool finished his first regular season in the NFL with 62 receptions for 873 yards and nine touchdowns, plus 10 rushes for 16 yards and two scores — 11 total touchdowns. He became the first receiver in the Super Bowl era to score 10 touchdowns in his first 10 games.
The Abbotsford, B.C. became a household name across Canada by tying the single-season record for touchdowns by a Canadian in the NFL and scoring the longest NFL touchdown ever by a Canadian-born player at 84 yards. His rookie campaign ranked among the best all-time seasons by a Canadian receiver — ever.
The 22-year-old Claypool experienced a fast rise to NFL stardom and in the future could quickly mature and grow used to the increased attention.