Updated: Jun 22, 2021
(Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)
The rookies last year went through unprecedented times with having no OTAs, a shortened training camp and no preseason games due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but that didn't stop Chase Claypool from having a remarkable season in 2020.
Claypool finished the regular season with 62 receptions for 873 yards (14.1 average) and nine touchdowns. He also had two rushing touchdowns as well. Claypool tied Franco Harris (1972) and Louis Lipps (1984) for the most touchdowns in franchise history during a rookie season with 11. Claypool's 62 receptions on the season were also the most ever for a Steelers rookie and his nine receiving touchdowns last year were the most among all rookies.
There was no such thing as a rookie wall for Claypool in his rookie year, even though Mike Tomlin lessened his snaps late in the year to try to reserve him.
"I didn't really feel a rookie wall, I think it was more Coach getting ahead of it if he knew it was going to come near the end of the season," Claypool said. "Knowing we were probably going to be in the playoffs at that point, I think he was just trying to keep some guys up."
In Year 2, Claypool is looking to take that next snap and be on the field as often as he can.
"Physically I was good to go for as many snaps as they need me for (last year)," Claypool said. "It all depends on the scheme and what they are trying to do in the game plan. Sometimes my snaps will be higher, sometimes they will be less. As long as I am playing a little bit, I will be all right, making an impact."
To help condition his body for a rigorous 17-game schedule this year, Claypool has been training again this offseason with former NFL wide receiver T.J Houshmandzadeh.
"I've been strengthening the deficiencies in my body," Claypool said when asked what he's worked on this offseason. "I've really been working on the right side of my body since I'm upside dominant and I want to be more balanced. Then off the field me and T.J. Houshmandzadeh do a lot of the same things we did last year. There's no reason to veer off that road. It's been about doing all the things that worked and working on the stuff that hasn't."