ESPN’s Ryan Clark did not appreciate how Canadian receiver Chase Claypool handled himself in the dying moments of the Pittsburgh Steelers loss to the Minnesota Vikings on Thursday Night Football.
Claypool made a crucial fourth-down catch in the late stages of an attempted Steelers comeback but instead of handing the ball to the official, Mapletron did a first down celebration, costing his team valuable seconds.
ESPN’s Ryan Clark went on ‘Get Up’ and blasted Claypool for how he handled that situation.
“Chase Claypool is as mentally and emotionally underdeveloped as he is physically overdeveloped. This is a dude that has all the things you need from a physical standpoint to be a superstar wide receiver. He has a remedial level mental understanding of what it is to be a football player of what it is to be a teammate — of what it is to be a winner.”
Claypool had eight receptions for 93 yards in the 36-28 loss, giving the Abbotsford, B.C. product 753 yards on the season.
The Notre Dame alum explained what happened from his perspective after the game.
“I got tackled near the hash, did my little first-down point, went to hand the ball to the ref. He just got there. So, even if I got right up and looked for him, he wasn’t there. He ran down the field to come get the ball, and the ball got knocked out of my hands. That’s what cost us time.”
Trai Turner was the Steeler who knocked the ball out of Claypool’s hands. Clark didn’t agree with Claypool’s assessment of where the blame should go.
“It’s about our thing, that when I make the mistake, I do my first down point, I don’t talk about Trai Turner who is trying to do the right thing, and get the football out of my hand, bring it to the hash and bring it to the referee,” said Clark.
“I don’t talk about him knocking the ball out of my hand and that being why I didn’t get the ball to the referee. No, you weren’t looking to get the ball to the referee and have it placed where it needed to be.”
Clark, a former Steeler (2006-2013) who won the Super Bowl with Pittsburgh in 2009, says this type of behaviour is hurting the team as they battle for a playoff spot in the AFC.
“That’s what is wrong with this team, no accountability. No thumbs pointing at me saying I’m the reason. Well, I’ll tell him — Chase Claypool that’s on you, that’s your problem, just like the personal foul in the first quarter, just like the personal foul late in the game against the Cincinnati Bengals. He only cares about himself. And that self-centeredness is part of what’s bringing the Steelers team and organization down,” he said.
The loss drops the Steelers to 6-6-1 on the season, 1.5 games out of a playoff spot in the AFC.
Their next game action is Sunday, Dec. 19 when they host the Tennessee Titans.