Anybody who follows the Pittsburgh Steelers knows this scene pretty well.
It’s fourth-and-one in the fourth quarter with 43 seconds left on the clock. The Steelers are in enemy territory and are trailing the Minnesota Vikings 28-36 in a very dramatic primetime battle.
Ben Roethlisberger takes the snap and strikes Chase Claypool on the slant. Chains move.
38 seconds remain on the clock when Claypool is taken down but it keeps winding down.
While the rest of the offense hurries to the line of scrimmage to spike the football, the Steelers wide receiver celebrates the first down instead of hurrying back to the line while his right guard tries to rip the football out of his hands to get it set.
Finally – not before the football bounces away and tight end Pat Freiermuth is forced to chase it down and hand it to the official – Big Ben spikes the football and the clock stops at… 24 seconds.
14 long seconds since the end of the previous play went by. Mostly because of Claypool’s completely unnecessary first-down celebration in a game they were about to lose unless they scored a touchdown and converted the two-point attempt.
Whether it’s celebrating at the wrong time, making unfortunate comments on rivals on live streams, or being labeled a “diva” by a Steelers’ staff writer during his rookie season, Claypool’s mental aspect of the game has always been highly scrutinized. As it should be.
No one questions his athletic traits. Claypool has all the tools to become the #1 wide receiver that Pittsburgh wants. It’s the mental preparation that worries fans. The same thing that still makes many question if he is the guy.
Apparently, Chase Claypool’s new mentor has that in mind as the Steelers’ promising receiver is set to be taken under his wing.
“(Brandon Marshall) says (Claypool) has everything he needs to be a great NFL receiver but the mental preparation,” writes Steelers beat writer Nick Farabaugh. “Marshall has taken Claypool under his wing and is being a mentor to him throughout the offseason.”
Marshall, who played 13 seasons in the NFL, should prove to be a great mentor to have. Not only was he highly successful in the league with eight seasons passing the 1,000-yard mark, but he’s a great dude.
The six-time Pro Bowler has shown his personality on the I AM ATHLETE podcast and he’s been super transparent and insightful about his days in the league.
The fact that Marshall openly singles out Claypool’s mental preparation as the one thing he “needs to be a great NFL receiver” speaks to how much he can help the Steelers’ rising star.
Also, as Pat McAfee points out in the clip above, there’s not a veteran in the Steelers’ locker room to help out Claypool anymore. Having someone off the field to mentor him could go a long way in making up for that.
For those betting on a big season from Chase, this is excellent news.
Featured image via Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports