Chase Claypool has been building to the point he's currently at for better and worse. His play has improved, and he's grown as a football player. However, his personality and antics have also grown as well. As time continues, Chase appears to be growing to fill the shoes of Antonio Brown in terms of productivity and personality. Here's a look at why Claypool is the next "Antonio Brown."
Chase Claypool: Antonio Brown 2.0
In Antonio Brown's second season with the Steelers, the wide receiver earned his first 1000-yard season. If Claypool keeps pace, he will also earn his first 1000-yard season in his second season in the NFL. Brown grew to be the top wide receiver for the Steelers. Chase Claypool is now also the top wide receiver for the Steelers after Juju Smith-Schuster's injury.
Based on his production, his role with the team will likely not be surrendered when Smith-Schuster returns. With Smith-Schuster entering 2021 on a one-year prove-it deal, there are no guarantees that Smith-Schuster will make it back to the Steelers in 2022. As such, Claypool is what the Steelers have.
Claypool has all the power, and he knows it, just like how Antonio Brown knew he was the key to the offense. Using this to his advantage, Brown routinely acted out and became a headache for Mike Tomlin. Claypool is also trending in this direction after reportedly asking Tomlin to play music at practice.
During the loss against the Minnesota Vikings, Claypool also acted out and costed his team. According to Chris Adamski, during the game, he suffered an eighth penalty of the season. He leads the league in penalties as a wide receiver. No other wide receiver has more than five penalties. Meanwhile, Claypool is doubling that.
Not only was Claypool testing the boundaries off the field, he acted out on the field during a primetime game with the playoffs on the line. However, since he knows the Steelers need him for a playoff push, he feels safe. Mike Tomlin made an effort to shut the idea down by benching the wide receiver during the game, according to Sports Illustrated.
The move signals an escalation towards a potential conflict between Claypool and Tomlin, echoing the one of yore between Tomlin and Brown. In terms of personality, production, and role, Claypool is becoming a reincarnation of Antonio Brown. While this means bright days will continue out wide on the field, it will not come for free, much like during the Antonio Brown era.