There was a moment, back in 2021, that should have given the Bears a long pause before trading for Chase Claypool, if not put them off him entirely. But then, as we’ve established, the Bears are incapable of making good decisions.
On December 10, 2021, Claypool was a star wide receiver for the Pittsburgh Steelers, who had rallied back from being down 29-0 to Minnesota in the third quarter, trailing by only eight points with a little over two minutes remaining in the game. Then-Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger tossed a 38-yard bomb to Claypool. The Steelers stormed all the way to Minnesota’s 34-yard line, making it fourth-and-one with 45 seconds left in the game and no timeouts remaining. Roethlisbeger hit Claypool again for the clutch first down, only to watch helplessly as Claypool stood there after the catch, taunting the defense while precious seconds ticked off the clock. Finally, an offensive lineman snatched the ball away from Claypool, but the damage was done. Pittsburgh eventually ran out of time on the Vikings’ 12-yard line. Final score: Minnesota 36, Pittsburgh 28.
Did I mention that Claypool had been benched by head coach Mike Tomlin in the first half of the same game for a stupid personal foul?
Claypool still finished that game with eight catches for 93 yards, and that’s including the time he was riding the pines because he aggravated his head coach.
And therein lies the conundrum with Chase Claypool, a guy known as much for his Tik Tok dancing off the field as his play on it.
“It’s a different era,” Claypool once said. “Social media is a big part of our era. So, I got to build a platform for myself. It helps me off the field. No doubt about it, on the field will always override the off the field, in terms of marketing and all that. The most important is on the field. But I was playing my best football when I was making TikToks. People want to get on me and talk about my TikToks, but as soon as I stopped we started losing.”
This is the guy the Bears traded what would end up being the 32nd pick in the 2023 NFL draft for back in November of 2022. By June of 2023, Claypool was already wearing out his welcome. Those who are close to Halas Hall started dropping hints that the coaching staff was unhappy with Claypool, that he lacked self-motivation.
The Bears and Claypool haven’t exactly made beautiful music together. By Week One of the 2023 NFL season, Claypool, who had been dealing with injuries, was put “on notice” by the Bears coaches that he needed to step up his effort on the field, after being held without a catch against Green Bay. Claypool appeared to bounce back in Week 2, running crisper routes than the previous week, but by Week 4, Claypool was making his lack of satisfaction known to the public. The wide receiver became the latest Bear to call out the coaching staff, responding, “No,” when asked if the Bears were using him to the best of his ability. Last week, QB Justin Fields also seemed to blame the coaches for his “robotic” play before quickly walking his comments back.
So here we are, in Week 4 of the NFL season, and Chase Claypool is a healthy scratch. And while he deserves criticism for his lack of effort, which is a legitimate reason to sit him, Claypool is instead sitting because he answered a question about this clown show of an organization honestly. Is Chase Claypool giving it 100 percent out there? No. Do the Bears have any kind of a legit NFL-caliber offense (or defense) going out there? Also no. And that’s a far bigger problem.
There were definitely warning signs about Claypool before the Bears went out and gave up a high-second round pick for him, but he’s a symptom of the problems at Halas Hall, not the cause. Head coach Matt Eberflus looks like a deer in headlights every Sunday, the Bears DC just resigned amidst a swirl of rumor and innuendo, and the team’s promising young QB is starting to look an awful lot like the promising young QBs that crashed and burned before him. The fanbase’s hopes today are pinned on whether the Bears can beat the hapless 0-3 Broncos. Meanwhile, we don’t even know if the Bears will play in Chicago in a few years’ time.
The Bears have every right to sit Claypool for being an ass, and he probably deserves it. But their problems go much deeper. At this point, it’s tempting to want the team to lose out and get that top draft pick, but God knows what they’d wind up doing with it. Probably trade it to Bill Belichick for some magic beans.
Original source here
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