It's been three years since Chase Claypool was drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers. He burst onto the scene as a rookie with nearly 900 receiving yards and nine touchdowns and has proven to be a reliable receiver in the years that have followed
Fresh off his best game of the season on Oct. 16, we caught up with Claypool to discuss that performance, his move to the slot, which quarterback gives the Steelers the best chance to win, his #LuckyJersey campaign with Tide, and so much more.
The Spun: You had a slow start to the season, but how did it feel to come through in the clutch for your team, especially with the TD grab and the sideline grab to secure the win against Tampa Bay?
Chase Claypool: I felt super good, obviously, you want to start fast and you want to be able to light up the scoreboard in game one, two, three, and all that, but sometimes things just don't work out that way. I think you just have to be able to not get caught up in that and look at the trajectory. If you stay with that mindset, then things will go well. Me, the receivers, the quarterbacks, and everyone in the offense were really trying to be patient because we know we were close, but we didn't know how close so I think this last game was a big step forward to getting to where we needed to be.
The Spun: What do you guys, yourself included, need to do to keep the fire burning against Miami after that emotional win against Tampa Bay last Sunday?
Chase Claypool: I think we understand that the Dolphins, even though they've lost three in a row, they could very well be 6-0, especially if Tua never goes down. I think we understand that the Dolphins are one of the best teams in the league and I think that's going to help us with the preparation. It's not like some guys are thinking, 'Oh they've lost their last three, they're in a vulnerable position.' They're going to be just fine and with that being said, we just have to be ready and prepared and I think knowing that we're playing a juggernaut opponent will help us.
The Spun: Switching gears a little bit, how has it been adjustment-wise going from catching passes from Ben Roethlisberger to passes from Kenny Pickett and Mitch Trubisky? Has anything stood out to you?
Chase Claypool: I think the biggest thing difference-wise is that I'm able to add to the conversation when it comes to teaching a little bit. Obviously, when I'm talking to Ben, who am I to think that I'm going to go teach Ben something new? Even though Mitch is more of a veteran quarterback, I think we're all learning the offense, so we're all able to have those conversations and learn things together.
The Spun: Going off that, which quarterback do you think gives the Steelers the best chance to win?
Chase Claypool: Honestly, I think both because we've been able to see what happens when one goes down and then the other has to come in. When Kenny went down, he was doing a great job and we had the lead with him. Mitch came in and we kept the lead with him, so I think those guys are good at different things in their own rights, but they're also very similar. They're both mobile, they want to push the ball down the field, and they trust us.
The Spun: How do you think you’ve done with your move to the slot full-time and what’s been the hardest adjustment from a route running or a “feel” perspective
Chase Claypool: I think now that I'm in the slot, I'd love to utilize the mismatches more and I think we're kinda trending in that direction. When you're in the inside, it's a lot about understanding what the defense is doing when it comes to the linebackers, the corners, safeties, etc. It's a lot more timing and readiness compared to the outside where if you're a crazy athlete, you can just get the ball thrown to you and all you have to do is make half of those catches, and that account for 400-500 yards just by 50/50 balls. On the inside, in this offense, you don't get as many of those 50/50 balls, it's more find the zone, sending it, and stuff like that.
The Spun: With so many teams seeking balance on offense, wide receivers have to also be able to contribute as blockers. What is your mindset when that is being asked of you on a play?
Chase Claypool: We love the opportunity to be the reason why a big play happens without even being directly involved. If we can hit a block on the back side, hit a crackback, well maybe not a crackback, but you know what I mean. If we can hit a big block and spring one of those guys loose, it makes us feel good because we know that they'll repay us whenever they get the chance, especially when they're trying to get us open for something.
The Spun: So, tell us about your partnership with Tide with this #LuckyJersey campaign. What made you want to start it?
Chase Claypool: So, I grew up like everybody else having that lucky jersey and I had a set mindset of not wanting to wash it. I've had that my whole life until I came into the league and I wanna really try to tackle superstitions of 'You cannot wash that jersey because it takes away the significance.' Tide and I are trying to do that because when I came into the league when we traded jerseys, we actually had to wash them with Tide before we gave them or received them. Now once I did that, I didn't mind it at all. So, I made a video on my Tik Tok and Instagram about what it would take for fans to wash that jersey. For example, what would it take for you to wash that Jerome Bettis jersey behind you if you knew the autograph would stay on? It gives fans a chance to comment down below and then we reward them with prizes if they actually wash the jersey. It's a super cool opportunity and it's an awesome campaign that I'm excited to be a part of.
Check out more of our interviews with the game's biggest stars here.