Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Chase Claypool has signed an endorsement deal with Nike’s Jordan brand, the company announced Tuesday.
After sporting multiple different brands throughout his rookie season, Claypool seemed to settle on Jordan at the very end. Now it appears that extended audition has culminated in a partnership.
Claypool joins an exclusive group of elite NFL players to wear Jordan on-field that includes Green Bay Packers wide receiver Davante Adams, Kansas City Chiefs running back Le’Veon Bell and his Steelers teammate Joe Haden.
Claypool consulted with Haden during the decision-making process, which he says helped sway him in the end.
“Joe (Haden) told me that they really take care of you at Jordan Brand,” Claypool said in a post on the company’s website announcing his signing, “They look out for the guys, and it really is a family environment. You can always reach out if you need anything. They look out for charitable organizations and help players with them, too. The more I talked to Joe, the easier it was to make the decision.”
"I always want to be different in a good way. I wanted to be someone people could look up to."— Jordan (@Jumpman23) January 12, 2021
Learn more about star rookie @ChaseClaypool’s journey to Jordan Brand, and how he uses his platform to spread mental health awareness.
Claypool also cited the Packers’ Adams, as well as New Orleans Pelicans forward Zion Williamson and Dallas Mavericks guard Luka Dončić of the NBA, as fellow Jordan athletes across sports he is a fan of. The rookie wideout also spoke about his affinity for the City of Pittsburgh, the Steeler and their fans in the interview.
“I was super lucky to be drafted by Pittsburgh, especially with the fan base and the history of the organization,” he said. “They made the transition pretty easy, especially by being around all these veterans. Coach (Mike) Tomlin is one of the most decorated coaches in the league, in terms of producing good players, good receivers and putting together all of these winning seasons. All I have to do is work hard and let my game do the talking.”
Lastly, Claypool discussed his growing social media following and the importance of telling his own story off the field.
“I think that developing your brand outside of the football field is important, because people don’t get to see what you look like underneath the helmet,” Claypool said. “Some of the headlines don’t tell the true story of who you are. Putting out content like that helps you gain a fanbase outside of football, one that likes your personality and not just who you are as a player. You can have a bad game and still have people supporting you.”
Claypool had an outstanding first season, earning the Joe Greene Great Performance Award as the Steelers’ top rookie.
The Notre Dame product caught 62 passes for 873 yards and nine touchdowns. He also rushed for a pair of scores, tying Louis Lipps for the most touchdowns scored by a Steelers rookie with 11 total.
Could Steelers Sign Bud Dupree to 1-Year Contract after ACL Injury?
That player is Bud Dupree, who is a free agent and in search of a new NFL contract. While fans always knew it was possible 2020 was Dupree’s last in Pittsburgh, one of the most tenured NFL reporters thinks there’s actually hope the 27-year-old linebacker could be back as a key contributor to the Steelers defense. During an appearance on Pittsburgh’s 93.7 The Fan, longtime NFL reporter John Clayton said he feels Dupree’s ACL injury may reduce his value on the open market and lead Dupree signing a 1-year deal worth about $6 million.
A $6 million 1-year contract would be team-friendly as the Steelers look to work around salary cap concerns, but significantly less than the type of deal a player of Dupree’s caliber would normally command. Spotract.com has estimated Dupree’s market value to be around $18 million per year on a four-year contract.
Of course, that may sound like good news for Steelers fans. Dupree was playing at a very high level prior to his season-ending injury. But the possibility of signing for just one year, instead of a big long term contract, doesn’t seem to be something Dupree himself is too excited about.
— Big Bud (@Bud_Dupree) January 27, 2021
Dupree joined NFL Network’s Good Morning Football on Wednesday, and shared encouraging news regarding his rehab from the torn ACL that ended his 2020 season.
“I’m feeling great right now,” Dupree said. “I’m ahead of schedule in rehab. It’s a great thing as always, it’s a blessing.”
What the market will actually be for Dupree’s services certainly depends on if other franchises feel he can get back to form and be fully recovered for next season.
JuJu Smith-Schuster, Steelers Announce Donation to Ryan Shazier Fund for Spinal Rehabilitation
The Pittsburgh Steelers and wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster have announced a $10,000 donation to the Ryan Shazier Fund for Spinal Rehabilitation, the latest installment in their Social Justice Grant program.
The @steelers announced donations to @ryanshazierfund from @TeamJuJu with a matching contribution by the team as part of the #Steelers’ Social Justice Grant program to help support community efforts.— Steelers Community Relations (@SteelersCR) January 27, 2021
📝: https://t.co/sWMPRrI7U7 pic.twitter.com/niwPtQrmry
Smith-Schuster donated $5,000, a contribution which the Steelers organization matched.
Shazier’s trials and tribulations are well-documented, having suffered a career-ending spinal cord injury in a game against the Cincinnati Bengals in 2017.
The former Pro Bowler inspired millions throughout his recovery journey, and has turned his misfortune into an opportunity to help others, starting his foundation in November.
“My foundation is about people dealing with spinal cord issues. I dealt with the issue myself. I understand how much support and care you need for those with spinal cord issues,” Shazier told Steelers.com. “Sometimes people don’t get the right amount of care or support or rehab they need. I started this to give them more support, the caregivers more support and help them get more rehab. You always have to do some kind of rehab when injured. For spinal cord, usually you only get 30 sessions of rehab. That’s like trying to teach your kid to walk again in 30 sessions. That is almost impossible.”
For Shazier, it is extra special to have a former Steeler teammate in Smith-Schuster and the organization supporting his cause.
“I am truly thankful for this,” Shazier told Steelers.com. “It means a lot. It lets you know the relationships you built while playing with guys, guys who are from different backgrounds and different parts of the world, really mean something. You have relationships that go beyond football.”
“This doesn’t just mean a lot to mean personally, though. It means a lot because it’s going to help so many people who are going through the same thing I have gone through. JuJu has firsthand experience seeing what I have gone through when we played together. It’s amazing to have someone like that, someone who was a teammate not just support me, but support others.”
Selected in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft out of Ohio State, Shazier was selected to two Pro Bowls over his four-year career, tallying 299 combined tackles, 24 tackles-for-loss, seven sacks, seven forced fumbles and seven interceptions.
Report: Steelers Interview Former Packers OL Coach James Campen
The Pittsburgh Steelers are reportedly interviewing veteran offensive line coach James Campen for their vacancy at the same position, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Gerry Dulac.
Campen is most known for his tenure with the Green Bay Packers, where he served as the club’s offensive line coach from 2007 to 2018. He additionally served as Green Bay’s run game coordinator in 2018, and won Super Bowl XLV over the Steelers in 2012.
He was also the associate head coach and offensive line coach under Freddie Kitchens with the Cleveland Browns in 2019.
Campen was most recently the offensive line coach for the Los Angeles Chargers last season under former head coach Anthony Lynn, but was not retain when Lynn was fired.
The Steelers are looking to fill the vacancy left by former offensive line coach Shaun Sarrett, who, along with offensive coordinator Randy Fichtner and defensive backs coach Tom Bradley, did not have his contract renewed following the 2020 season.
Pittsburgh officially announced the promotion of quarterbacks coach Matt Canada to offensive coordinator on Monday, even though reports indicated head coach Mike Tomlin wanted to first hire the team’s next offensive line coach.
Campen is just the second reported candidate the Steelers have interviewed for the opening. They also reportedly spoke to Detroit offensive line coach Hank Fraley, who has since been retained by new Lions head coach Dan Campbell.
The Steelers’ next offensive line coach will have their hands full from the jump, as they will be tasked with righting an aging unit that produced the league’s worst rushing attack in 2020.