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Chase Claypool expected a “smaller role” on Sunday

It you didn’t already know about Steelers receiver Chase Claypool, you do now.

The rookie second-rounder -- the eleventh receiver taken in the 2020 draft -- had a career day in only his fourth career game, with four touchdowns. Like the rest of us, he didn’t see it coming.

“I thought I was going have a smaller role for the game,” Claypool told PFT after Pittsburgh’s win. “But when [Diontae Johnson] went down I knew I had to step up for the time being and luckily I was able to do that.”

Claypool then was able to show some personality on social media, with a 7-11 “always open” tweet and a mashup of himself and Tom Brady holding up four fingers. Claypool realizes that, after Sunday’s showing, other teams will be paying more attention to him. He welcomes it.

“I hope they have a corner on me and a safety over the top because that means that other people can go ball out,” Claypool said. “If I can go ahead and affect the game in that way whether I have zero catches or 10 catches, if I can affect a game indirectly and let someone else [contribute] then I’m all for it.”

Whether he gets zero catches or 10 catches of something in between, how much motivation does Claypool find in the fact that he lasted on the draft board as long as he did?

“A ton,” Claypool said. “I don’t let that affect my play at all but I definitely use that as something that drives me forward, drives me to work harder, and make plays on Sundays. I am excited that I am able to make these plays against the teams that passed me up and hopefully they’re shaking their heads but it’s one week at a time.”

Steelers fans are surely shaking their heads in delight, as the team proves once again its ability to find receivers in the draft. Claypool could end up being one of the best they’ve ever discovered.