Canadian Chase Claypool: Steelers want to play their best for Ben Roethlisberger as ‘signs’ point towards retirment

Photo courtesy: Pittsburgh Steelers

Canadian receiver Chase Claypool and his Pittsburgh Steelers teammates want to play their best for franchise quarterback Ben Roethlisberger over the final two weeks of the 2021 season.

“That’s something that’s super special for him especially and we all have to feel that. I don’t think there should be any added pressure in terms of these circumstances, but I think we all just naturally want to play our best for him,” said Claypool.

The 39-year-old quarterback is mulling retirement, though it seems like a foregone conclusion that he will not return to Pittsburgh in 2022. Roethlisberger is not under contract for next season and multiple reports have indicated that the Steelers intend on making a change under centre during the upcoming off-season.

Photo courtesy: Pittsburgh Steelers

Claypool credited the veteran passer for helping him adjust to the NFL quickly, allowing him to record 113 receptions for 1,679 yards and 10 touchdowns after being selected in the second round of the 2020 NFL Draft.

“It’s been pretty good, especially in the first year. Transitioning into the league without preseason, he was a great role model for me in terms of helping me with the transition and easing me into it and not throwing too much at me at once,” said Claypool.

“He’s really good when it comes to helping get settled and probably become a more experienced player a lot quicker.”

The Steelers currently sit third in the AFC North at 7-7-1, trailing the Cincinnati Bengals (9-6) and Baltimore Ravens (8-7). The Kansas City Chiefs (11-4) are the only team in the conference to have already clinched a postseason berth with 12 teams in playoff contention between 10-5 and 7-8.

Claypool believes the best way to approach their final two games — Monday, Jan. 3 vs. Cleveland and Sunday, Jan. 9 at Baltimore — is for the Steelers to focus on their individual assignments.

“We always say before the game, ‘Just do your job’ and it’ll all come together when everyone does their own job. Especially this time of year, we’ve got to do our job exceptionally well,” said Claypool. “I think this team has been through a lot and we’ve learned from it every week.”

Claypool refused to discuss his personal accolades despite improving in many statistical categories from his rookie season to his sophomore season. He has improved in yards per game (54.6 to 62.0), catch percentage (56.9 to 57.3), yards per target (8.0 to 9.1), fumbles (three to zero) and sits 194 yards shy from 1,000 on the year.

“I just correlate how my season’s gone with how the team’s going,” said Claypool. “I think there’s a lot of improvement and I’m excited for the improvement in the road ahead because I know that I’ve only just scratched the surface.”