Bears News: Fields, Kmet react to Claypool's situation

Bears News: Fields, Kmet react to Claypool's situation

by - Correspondent -

CHICAGO - After trading the No. 32 overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft to acquire wide receiver Chase Claypool last season, it does not appear that he will play another game for the Chicago Bears.

Claypool has been told to stay away from the team, according to head coach Matt Eberflus. This is a rather unusual occurrence on an NFL team, but it just seems to go along with how the season has gone thus far.

As the leader of the offense, quarterback Justin Fields was asked Tuesday about losing one of his top receivers.

“It sucks, but at the end of the day, can’t control it. Got to go out there with the guys that we have and execute like we did this past Sunday. Wish nothing but the best for Chase. I think he knows that he kind of messed up by kind of saying that, but I wish him the best,” Fields said. “He’s a talented player, and he’s a great player, has a good heart, and works really hard. So, definitely going to be staying in touch with him regardless of what happens and wish him nothing but the best.”

Fields’ comments about Claypool are a bit ironic given that not too long ago, Fields himself was under fire for stating that the play calling was making him play “robotic.” Claypool’s comments, on the other hand, were relatively mild compared to that. While Fields said when speaking with the media that Claypool’s comments were not the reason the team told him to stay away, that is certainly how it comes across.

There have been a number of implications, particularly from Eberflus and Fields, that this fourth-year receiver was having issues controlling his emotions, and that may have contributed to him no longer being with the team. However, one could certainly understand the frustration.

The last time the Bears won a game was prior to Claypool joining the team; thus, he has never seen Chicago win a football game in the time that he was a part of the team. Further, part of bringing in Claypool was so that he could help the receiving core and assist Fields in developing more. His catch percentage was only 41.9% in his time with the Bears; with the Pittsburgh Steelers, it was 58%.

Another benefit that was perceived from Claypool coming to Chicago was to play with his former college teammate, tight end Cole Kmet. The two are close friends and have been since their time at Notre Dame.

“Chase is a really close friend of mine. I’ve known him for a long time, going back to college, and really unfortunate it’s had to pan out the way that it has so far,” Kmet said. “But, obviously, Coach (Eberflus) and (general manager) Ryan (Poles) are making the decision they feel is best for the football team, and that’s just kind of where it’s at.”

Kmet’s comments have a bit of a different tone to them than Eberflus or Fields. The second-year head coach and third-year quarterback have both seemed to blame Claypool more for his circumstances, while Kmet appears to take the more humane approach and is looking out for his friend, whether his future lies with the Bears or elsewhere.

“I’m just going to be there for him as a friend,” Kmet said. “At the end of the day, we’re all adults here, and everyone gets to make their own decisions and can say what they want to say on things and act how they want to ask and whatever it may be. But as a friend, I’m always there for Chase, whether he’s here or somewhere else, wherever it is.”

The trade deadline falls on October 31 this season at 3 p.m. Most likely, Chicago will look to trade Claypool, although they certainly will not get what they paid for him last season. The best-case scenario for both sides will be for Claypool to get a fresh start on a different team and with the Bears acquiring a low-level draft pick, such as the fifth round.

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