Chase Claypool wanted to send message with sideline outburst vs. Lions

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Claypool wanted to send message with sideline outburst vs. Lions originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Chase Claypool was heated on the sideline Sunday when quarterback Justin Fields came over to calm him down and talk through his frustration.

The Bears were getting dismantled by the division rival Detroit Lions, the offense was going nowhere, and Claypool had had enough.

"I was all fired up because we can’t lose that bad, ever," Claypool said Thursday. "We have to have a little bit more pride, a little bit more heart, so it don’t happen again.

"I was coming off the field, three-and-out, sit on the bench, do the same thing over," Claypool continued. "Something’s gotta change in that moment. We gotta realize the drives where we have to score. We have to realize when it’s not OK to go three-and-out. We gotta act that way. If we go three-and-out, it can’t just be OK. And it isn’t. But we gotta really have that fire and energy and realize that, yo, it’s time to go. We went three-and-out two times in a row. They’re scoring points. The lead’s getting bigger. What are we gonna do about it?"

Claypool said he and Fields discussed their sides of the issue and came to a "common ground."

The third-year receiver's introduction to Chicago hasn't gone as planned. It's easy to understand his frustration.

Claypool has only caught 12 passes for 111 yards in six games with the Bears this season. There's also the issue of playing time and the ability to develop chemistry with Fields. The Bears brought Claypool to Chicago to hopefully become the No. 1 wide receiver for a young offense.

But in five games with Fields as the quarterback, Claypool has played a total of 126 snaps. In his final two games with the Pittsburgh Steelers, he played 125.

Still, Claypool maintains his minor outburst in Detroit wasn't about not getting the ball.

"I’ll never do that," Claypool said. "Only time I get frustrated like that is if we’re losing and I feel like I could be doing more. I’ll never get frustrated and say, ‘Throw me the ball more, throw me the ball.’ Maybe I’ll say, ‘Hey, I was open. I want to make a play for the team, we’re down.’ But never about my stats. I don’t care about my stats.”

It is clear that Claypool, who played his college ball at Notre Dame and was drafted by an organization in the Steelers with winning in its DNA, isn't used to losses like the Bears endured Sunday.

The Bears haven't won a game since Claypool arrived. Losing can be grating, especially when you're one of the most talented players on a very young team.

Claypool didn't like the lack of energy from the offense in the second half in Detroit and wanted to make it known that it was unacceptable moving forward. Score be damned, the Bears can't throw their hands up and wave the white flag.

“Even if it was 31-10 or whatever in the third quarter, we can still win that game," Claypool said. "You see what the Vikings did down 33-0 at halftime. We’re always in every game, no matter what the score is, for the most part, until that final whistle blows.

"So it’s like, I just want to feel that belief. I want to feel it. We’re a good team. We’re going to be a good team next year. But we have to be real uncomfortable with losing.”

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Wide receivers coach Tyke Tolbert loves the fire Claypool brings to the organization. But he knows that having it burn at that high intensity can become a negative if it comes out that way.

"I told Chase after the game, 'You're a passionate guy. I love your passion. Your passion is what makes you who you are. Just channel it the right way.' Everybody wants to be doing better on offense. Everybody wants to score more points and do a lot of things.

"But we're all professionals. We have to do things in a professional way. I love his passion. But he just needs to channel it the right way."

Tolbert said Claypool channeled it right after the outburst by being a dominant blocker.

Fields showed tremendous leadership in Detroit by going over to calm Claypool down. It could also serve as a critical moment for this Bears rebuild. With the Lions running up the score, there sat two key pieces of the puzzle, both frustrated by the losing and offensive ineffectiveness, finding themselves on the same page about a path forward.

"He’s one of those guys that hates losing just as much as I do," Claypool said of Fields. "We see common ground on that. It’s good to know there’s a guy throwing you the ball who wants to win just as bad as you do.”

Getting Fields and Claypool on the same page will be a massive part of a critical Bears offseason. That has to come before losses like Sunday's can truly become a thing of the past.

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