Langley’s Chase Claypool said when Pittsburgh Steelers fans voted for “Mapletron” as his nickname, he appreciated the nod to Calvin Johnson Jr., the legendary Detroit Lions wide receiver known as “Megatron” after the Transformers character.
“I thought it was pretty clever, but when I ran it past my teammates, they thought it was funny,” Claypool told an online press conference for members of Canadian media on Thursday, Sept. 24.
One of the other choices was “Air Canada,” Claypool recalled.
Claypool called it “cool” that his first-ever touchdown catch, on Sunday Sept. 20, was the longest scrimmage touchdown by a Canadian player in NFL history, but records are not a personal priority.
“It’s not something that I’m super focused on right now,” Claypool commented.
His touchdown helped the Steelers defeat the Broncos 26-21 to improve to 2-0 on the season.
Claypool said he was aware from “social media” of the excitement his standout NFL debut has created in Canada, but doesn’t think it will really “sink in” until he returns.
Claypool told the press conference he intends to continue honouring the memory of former teammate Samwel Uko this season by writing his last name on his wrist tape.
Saying the two players were “super close” when they were both playing high school football, Claypool said he hopes to also have Uko’s name on his helmet, if he can get approval.
“I have to talk to the NFL,” Claypool said.
Claypool described Uko, who committed suicide after being turned away from a Regina hospital in May, as one of the greatest players he has ever seen.
Claypool grew up playing in Abbotsford and calls Langley home.
After a storied run with the Abbotsford Panthers where he led the club to a provincial final game in 2015 and was named the AA football player of the year that season, he played for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish.
Claypool was Notre Dame’s leading receiver in 2019 with 66 catches for 1,037 yards and 13 TDs.
On April 23, he was signed by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the second round of the NFL draft, the 17th player taken in the round, 49th overall.