Steelers' Chase Claypool Prepared for All Aspects of Training Camp
PITTSBURGH -- Steelers second-round pick Chase Claypool has been at Heinz Field for the first week of his rookie training camp.
In the midst of an unusual offseason, Claypool, like other rookies, is looking for ways to impress with limited practice time. The Steelers only have 14 padded practices and no preseason games before Week 1. Therefore, earning roster spots and playing time will come differently than most seasons.
"I think you can make an impression in more than just the practices alone," Claypool told media during a Zoom call Thursdays. "It's how you carry yourself. You have to find ways to maximize how you make an impression, whether it's in the weight room, or just knowing what to do, even spending extra time with them. That is my mindset right now."
Claypool is working with rookies as veterans continue to return to the team facilitates. He and the other rookie receivers have used their time in Pittsburgh to take on those off the field actions to better their game once they return to the field.
"I'm with two other receivers, Anthony Johnson, right now, and Saeed [Blacknall], and we've stuck pretty close in terms of communicating with each other and the playbook because you know like that's a super important thing," Claypool said. "If we have any questions about anything, we kind of communicate it within ourselves. Honestly, as rookies, we're pretty unsure about what's going to happen. As soon as the vets come in, I guess they'll probably maybe give us more insight, but we are trying to stay hopeful. I think there's a right way to do that because within the guidelines, we feel safe here. I guess you can say."
He's also talked to the veterans on the team who have provided advice during this time.
"We are in a group chat, and then I was able to talk with them here and then a little bit before," Claypool said on the team's veteran receivers. "I've felt really welcomed here because all of the receivers have given me their advice, their personal advice, their tips and tricks. They've helped me learn the playbook I think all the receivers, honestly, [Ryan] Switzer, JuJu [Smith-Schuster], James Washington, Diontae [Johnson], all those guys have really been helpful for my transition here. No one in particular I've gravitated toward and I think that's a good thing."
On the field, Steelers coaches have praised Claypool's physicality as a receiver. Although he still has nearly two weeks before pads are on, he does understand what he can do to showcase that strength during camp.
"I think I can do that within my route running, in terms of just releasing downfield," Claypool said. "I release pretty aggressively, going to attack the ball. Of course, on live plays you don't want to be too aggressive because it's your teammates. You try to keep everyone safe, but you can definitely have a play or two where you can kind of come downhill or something, show your physicality."
Coach Mike Tomlin told media that any off the field actions could be "detrimental" to the team because of the COVID-19 virus. For Claypool, he's aware of the situation and feels confident it'll be easy following the team's expectations.
"It's not tough at all," he said. "I think it's pretty straight-forward. They lay out the guidelines pretty clearly. All you need to do is follow them. It's a pretty smooth transition. There is a lot on the line. As long as you understand that then the transition is pretty easy."
And as for advice heading into his first action as an NFL player, Claypool recalled Tomlin's words to him and the team.
"Coach (Mike) Tomlin's main point for me and the team is 'don't be the guy,'" he said. "Don't be the guy who messes up in a pretty simple situation where it's easy not to mess up. You just follow the steps and the things they laid out for you and you will be fine. Just don't be the guy."