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Chase Claypool Wins Joe Greene Award as Steelers Rookie of the Year

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Wide receiver Chase Claypool has won the Joe Greene Great Performance Award as the Pittsburgh Steelers rookie of the year, after a vote by the Pittsburgh chapter of the Pro Football Writers Association, chapter president Mark Kaboly announced on Wednesday.

Claypool, the Steelers’ top pick when drafted in the second round out of Notre Dame, has impressed in his rookie season. In 15 games, Claypool has hauled in 57 passes for 772 yards while also running for 16 yards and scoring 10 total touchdowns.

His eight receiving touchdowns lead all rookie wide receivers and he’s fourth among NFL rookies in receiving yards.

Claypool was the 11th wide receiver selected in the 2020 NFL Draft when the Steelers took him with the 49th overall selection. Only Justin Jefferson (No. 22, Minnesota Vikings), CeeDee Lamb (No. 17, Dallas Cowboys) and Tee Higgins (No. 33, Cincinnati Bengals) have more receiving yards.

Claypool had to defeat a crowded field of contenders, as third-round pick outside linebacker Alex Higsmith and fourth-round picks guard Kevin Dotson and running back Anthony McFarland Jr. have all played extensively.

Linebacker Devin Bush won the award in 2019. The last three offensive players to win the award were all wide receivers. The first winner of the award was also a wide receiver, as Louis Lipps was the inaugural recipient in 1984.

2020 WR Chase Claypool
2019 ILB Devin Bush
2018 SS Terrell Edmunds
2017 WR JuJu Smith-Schuster
2016 FS Sean Davis
2015 OLB Bud Dupree
2014 WR Martavis Bryant
2013 RB Le’Veon Bell
2012 OT Mike Adams
2011 OT Marcus Gilbert
2010 C Maurkice Pouncey
2009 WR Mike Wallace
2008 LB Patrick Bailey
2007 P Daniel Sepulveda
2006 WR Santonio Holmes
2005 TE Heath Miller
2004 QB Ben Roethlisberger
2003 SS Troy Polamalu
2002 OG Kendall Simmons
2001 ILB Kendrell Bell
2000 FB Dan Kreider
1999 WR Troy Edwards
1998 OG Alan Faneca
1997 CB Chad Scott
1996 FB Jon Witman
1995 QB Kordell Stewart
1994 RB Bam Morris
1993 ILB Chad Brown
1992 FS Darren Perry
1991 TE Adrian Cooper
1990 TE Eric Green
1989 SS Carnell Lake
1988 RB Warren Williams
1987 CB Delton Hall
1986 LB Anthony Henton
1985 P Harry Newsome
1984 WR Louis Lipps

Steelers

PFF Tabs Steelers OLB Alex Highsmith as 2021 Breakout Candidate

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Pro Football Focus has released their breakout candidates for the 2021 season and believes Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebacker Alex Highsmith is in for a big year.

Highsmith was thrust into the starting lineup following fellow edge rusher Bud Dupree’s season-ending injury, and showed a knack for causing disruption and making plays.

The rookie finished his 2020 campaign with 48 combined tackles, two sacks, five tackles-for-loss, six quarterback hits and an interception. According to PFF, Highsmith recorded 22 total pressures on 224 pass-rushing snaps.

With Dupree likely moving on from the Steelers in free agency this offseason, Highsmith is primed to be the Week 1 starter opposite T.J. Watt.

Elsewhere around the AFC North, PFF likes Baltimore Ravens defensive lineman Justin Madubuike, Cincinnati Bengals tight end Drew Sample and Cleveland Browns wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. to have big years as well.

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Steelers

Packers Could Pass Steelers in All-Time Playoff Wins in NFC Championship Game

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The Green Bay Packers can pass the Pittsburgh Steelers in the NFL record books with a win in the NFC Championship Game on Sunday.

The Packers and Steelers are currently tied with 36 all-time NFL playoff wins, the second-most behind the New England Patriots, who have 37.

The Packers will be playing the man responsible for most of those wins in New England, now-Tampa Bay quarterback Tom Brady.

Both the Packers and Patriots have a higher postseason winning percentage than the Steelers, with New England holding a 37-21 record and Green Bay 36-23, while Pittsburgh is 26-26 after a Wild Card Round loss to Cleveland this month.

None of the other top five teams, including Dallas (35-28) and San Francisco (32-30) are still alive this year. Tampa Bay has just eight playoff wins in its history, the sixth-fewest in league history.

The Buffalo Bills (16-17) and Kansas City Chiefs (14-19) are 19th and 20th in playoff wins entering their AFC Championship Game showdown on Saturday.

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Pro Football Hall of Fame

Mike Tomlin: Hall of Fame Class of 2021 Incomplete without Steelers Scout Bill Nunn

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Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin doesn’t get a vote when it comes to who enters the Pro Football Hall of Fame, but he made his opinions known on who he thinks should be a part of the Hall’s Class of 2021, making a public plea on Monday for former Steelers scout Bill Nunn to be included.

“There is no way the Class of 2021 can be complete without the legend, Bill Nunn, being a part of it,” Tomlin wrote.

Nunn, who died in 2014, was selected as the lone finalist recommended by the nine-member contributor committee in August. He, senior committee finalist Drew Pearson, coaches committee finalist Tom Flores and 15 modern-era finalists, including former Steelers guard Alan Faneca, will all be on the ballot when the voters meet before the Super Bowl.

Nunn, a Homewood native and Westinghouse alum, was a key figure in the Steelers’ success in the 1970s and helped revolutionize the scouting process for players at historically black colleges and universities, that had been previously underrepresented in the NFL after having worked as a sportswriter with the Pittsburgh Courier.

“Bill’s contributions to the Steelers were extraordinary over the 46 years he was part of the organization,” Steelers president Art Rooney II said in a press release in August. “He was a special person that was a close friend and mentor before his passing in 2014. His lessons and stories are still evident in our everyday work. 

“I look forward to hopefully celebrating his induction next year at the Pro Football Hall of Fame. His legacy and career deserve to be recognized with the greatest individual honor in football, and we are excited he was chosen by the contributor committee as a finalist.”

Tomlin also wished luck to three players that he coached: former Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive backs Ronde Barber and John Lynch and Faneca.

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