Chase Claypool

Bills' Chase Claypool addresses falling short of expectations with Bears

Claypool said he's not trying to prove anyone right or wrong about their opinions of him

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Chase Claypool quickly became an NFL journeyman over the last two years after four relatively impressive seasons with the Steelers, who drafted him in 2020.

So much so, that the Bears traded a 2023 second-round pick to the Steelers to acquire him. But the move was quickly chalked up as a failure on Bears GM Ryan Poles' résumé less than one year after acquiring him when the team traded him and a 2025 seventh-round pick to the Dolphins in exchange for a 2025 sixth-round pick.

Now, after landing on his fourth team in the Bills in the last four seasons, Claypool understands he's fallen short of expectations at his last two destinations, including the Bears.

"I think it is tough believing the player that you are or can be, and falling short of those expectations, especially over the last two years, for sure," Claypool said at Bills OTAs. "It is a tough position because I know there's times where it can be frustrating if I'm not living up to my potential.

"But if it's frustrating to the outside world, it's even more frustrating for me. I understand where I should be. And I understand that I haven't met those expectations. And that's why I work harder and harder and harder and harder every year so I can meet and exceed those expectations."

Upon arriving in Chicago mid-season in 2023, Claypool didn't impress. He played in seven games, catching 14 passes for 140 yards and zero touchdowns. Claypool was supposed to be a strong second option for Justin Fields opposite of DJ Moore, but the production didn't meet the expectation.

The Bears chalked up Claypool's shortcomings for his midseason insertion. He wasn't given much time, if at all, to learn Luke Getsy's full playbook. Therefore, his difficulties on the field could be justified by his lack of playbook knowledge and his newfound connection with Fields.

The excuses were chucked out the window in Year 2. Claypool caught four passes for 51 yards and one touchdown through three games. However, when asked if the Bears were putting him in the best position to showcase his skillset, he responded "No."

Subsequently, the Bears asked him to remain away from the team to find a new home for him. His on-field production, paired with his locker room question marks, motivated the Bears to move off of him immediately.

"I came here, Day 1, I talked about being on time, being respectful and working hard," Eberflus said then. "That to me is important for every individual -- if it's a staff member, a player or a coach. That's where we are. We feel right now this is the best decision for us."

"We have a standard for that. We have standards for that. And if those standards are met, then everything's good. If it's not, then it's not."

They found a home for him in Miami, where he caught just four passes in nine games. The Dolphins didn't re-sign him this offseason. Instead, he landed in Buffalo with a depleted wide receiver core, highlighted by the team's loss of Stefon Diggs to the Texans.

Claypool joins Marquez Valdes-Scantling, KJ Hamler and rookies Xavier Johnson and Lawrence Keys in a wide receiver group laded with helping Josh Allen captain a competitive offense the NFL is used to seeing out of Buffalo.

Head coach Sean McDermott expressed his satisfaction in working with Claypool thus far this offseason.

"[Claypool's] very focused, he's working extremely hard day in and day out," McDermott said. "... Very impressed with his day-to-day approach, true pro, high character, smart player, and he's been a good addition to our team."

Claypool was widely criticized for his performance and character while in Chicago. During the beginning stages of his short-lived tenure, Claypool had an outburst on the sidelines, which required Fields to calm down his new teammate. Considering the Bears coughed up a second-round pick for his services, his presence wasn't accepted well by Bears fans.

The Bears' request for Claypool to remain away from the team was also quite indicative of how the organization felt about his presence. His team-forced hiatus from the team lasted just four days before the front office traded him to the Dolphins.

Claypool admitted he feels his criticisms on the internet about him are wrong in their contention. On the contrary, he said he's not out to prove anyone wrong, no matter their opinion of him. He told the media the only opinions that matter to him are those of his players and coaches.

"It's frustrating [to be characterized a certain way online], especially when it's so far from the truth," Claypool said. "... But I'm not here to prove that I'm not what they say I am, I'm just here to be who I am and be a part of the team. I'm not trying to prove anyone wrong or right, I'm just being who I am. It doesn't matter what the outside world says, as long as my teammates know the kind of guy I am, and coaches do, too."

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