Claypool is a former wide receiver for the Pittsburgh Steelers. He was drafted in 1990 and played 11 seasons with the team, including one stint as he led his team to victory when they won Super Bowl XLIII over Arizona. His career ended after suffering two injuries—a broken ankle and torn ACL.

Claypool is a wide receiver for the Arizona Cardinals and he has been known to make some big plays. He has even caught a touchdown pass from Kurt Warner in his first game with the team.

Mike Tomlin, the longstanding head coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers, has a way with words. After one of his players, second-year wideout Chase Claypool, remarked that Steelers practice might be more enjoyable, Tomlin’s rhetorical agility was on full display this week. Tomlin dispatched the youthful pass-catcher in a flash, putting him in his place.

In 2021, the Pittsburgh Steelers are struggling.

(L-R) CINCINNATI, OHIO - NOVEMBER 28: Head coach Mike Tomlin of the Pittsburgh Steelers reacts from the sideline during the second quarter against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium on November 28, 2021 in Cincinnati, Ohio; Chase Claypool of the Pittsburgh Steelers warms up before a game against the Chicago Bears at Heinz Field on November 08, 2021 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

(L-R) CINCINNATI, OHIO - NOVEMBER 28: Head coach Mike Tomlin of the Pittsburgh Steelers reacts from the sideline during the second quarter against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium on November 28, 2021 in Cincinnati, Ohio; Chase Claypool of the Pittsburgh Steelers warms up before a game against the Chicago Bears at Heinz Field on November 08, 2021 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Mike Tomlin and Chase Claypool (L-R) | Photos by Dylan Buell/Getty Images and Emilee Chinn/Getty Images

The Pittsburgh Steelers are off to a great start in the 2021 NFL season. In Week 1, the squad went to Buffalo and defeated the Bills, who were one of the preseason Super Bowl favorites.

That unexpected victory had the potential to set the tone for the season, but Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers swiftly reversed their fortunes. The squad then went on to lose three straight games against the Las Vegas Raiders, Cincinnati Bengals, and Green Bay Packers.

A four-game winning run followed, but it came at a cost. JuJu Smith-Schuster, a Pro Bowl wide receiver, is out for the season due to a shoulder injury.

The next week was much worse. With Ben Roethlisberger and safety Minkah Fitzpatrick on the reserve/COVID-19 list, and All-Pro pass rusher T.J. Watt suffering an injury midway through the game, the Steelers tied the Detroit Lions 16-16 for their only non-loss of the season.

The Steel City team lost their following two games as well. The Steelers were defeated by the (also struggling) Los Angeles Chargers 41-37 and the Bengals 41-10.

The Steelers are 5-5-1 and in last place in the NFC North heading into Week 13. The team’s season will be ended if they lose a couple more games. Before that, one Steelers player made a suggestion for how the club might improve its performance, but coach Mike Tomlin was not interested.

WR in his second year Mike Tomlin retorted that media practice should be more enjoyable, and Chase Claypool agreed.

Chase Claypool, according to Mike Tomlin’s proposal that they play music during practice to make it more enjoyable:

“Claypool likes to play wide out, so I’ll let him. I’ll come up with a practice strategy, and I believe that division of work is a good idea.”

30 November 2021 — Brooke Pryor (@bepryor)

As a new losing run for the Pittsburgh Steelers begins, everyone in the building is searching for methods to halt the slide and turn things around.

Former Notre Dame wide receiver Chase Claypool is one athlete who has put up a suggestion — although to the media rather than the squad or the coach. Following the Steelers’ humiliating defeat to the Bengals, Claypool revealed his thoughts on how to improve practice:

I believe that some music would be beneficial. Warm-ups included music, which is always entertaining. People are dancing and having a good time, so I believe music would make practice a bit more enjoyable and up-tempo. That’s my only advice, although Coach T has a lot more experience with this than I have.

On Pittsburgh practice, Chase Claypool

While Claypool did say towards the end that he would defer to Mike Tomlin on practice ambience, the head coach wasn’t pleased with his 23-year-old star making comments via the media.

When Tomlin was informed of Claypool’s remarks, he retorted:  

Claypool is a wide receiver, so I’ll let him do that. I’ll come up with a practice strategy. And I believe that division of work is reasonable.

Mike Tomlin on Chase Claypool

The 49-year-old head coach fired a vicious shot. And, although he’s been known to take nasty jabs at his own players in the past, you have to question whether he would have been as angry about Claypool this year if the pass-catcher was enjoying a season like he had in 2020.

Claypool is having a difficult second season.

After being tackled with his toe flexed, Steelers WR Chase Claypool has been battling with a nasty case of turf toe. He was recently kept off the field, but he was back against the Chargers.

November 25, 2021 — Brooke Pryor (@bepryor)

For wide receivers, the NFL Draft in 2020 was a dream come true. Justin Jefferson (No. 21), CeeDee Lamb (No. 17), Jerry Jeudy (No. 15), Brandon Aiyuk (No. 25), Tee Higgins (No. 33), Michael Pittman Jr. (No. 34), and Van Jefferson (No. 57) were among the wide receivers selected in last year’s draft.

Even with these 2020 standouts, Claypool had one of the greatest seasons in the class. The Pittsburgh Steelers WR caught 62 passes for 873 yards and nine touchdowns, which topped all rookies at the position.

This season isn’t going as well as the last.

Due to injuries, the 6-foot-4, 238-pound WR has already missed two games. He missed Weeks 4 and 10 due to hamstring injuries and turf toe, respectively.

He’s also not playing up to his rookie norms statistically. Total yards is one area where he continues to shine. In nine games, he’s already racked up 608 yards, but he’s only caught 37 passes. The fact that he just has one touchdown in 2021 is an even larger issue for the strong red zone danger.

It’s difficult to tell how much of this drop in output is due to Claypool, the fact that opponents are now plotting against him, or Ben Roethlisberger’s age-related deterioration as a quarterback.

It’s most likely a combination of all three of these elements, but regardless of how much each one contributes, the end consequence is the same. Claypool is no longer the game-changing, touchdown-waiting pass-catcher of last season.

Perhaps if Mike Tomlin only played music throughout practice, things might start to improve.

Pro Football Reference provided all stats.

‘I Hope He Was Kidding,’ Steelers Captain Slams Chase Claypool’s Immature Plan to Save the Season Amid Struggles

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