CHICAGO – Bears receiver Chase Claypool did not attend Sunday’s game at Soldier Field. The Bears made the 25-year-old receiver inactive prior to the game, and Claypool was not spotted along the team’s sideline during Sunday’s loss against the Denver Broncos.
Head coach Matt Eberflus later confirmed that Claypool was not at the stadium Sunday. Asked further about Claypool’s absence – other injured or inactive teammates were present for the game – Eberflus did not provide much context.
A team spokesperson later clarified that the team asked Claypool not to attend the game.
This turn of events comes two days after Claypool told members of the media that the Bears were not using him properly. On Friday at Halas Hall, Claypool was asked a yes or no question if the team was putting him in the best positions, Claypool paused for seven full seconds before saying, “No.”
Asked what more the coaching staff could do to highlight his skillset, Claypool declined to elaborate.
“You know, I’ll let them decide that,” Claypool said on Friday. “I’m not going to give any pointers. That’s their job to decide, and I’ll just do what they tell me to do.”
Eberflus claimed Sunday that Claypool’s comments on Friday did not play a role in the decision to make Claypool inactive. It’s unclear when Claypool knew he wouldn’t be playing in the game.
“What we do is we evaluate meetings, walk throughs, practice and we do that every single week,” Eberflus said. “Then we declare actives or inactives based on that.”
Eberflus said the Bears informed Claypool that he would be inactive on Sunday morning, but that doesn’t add up with their decision to ask him not to attend the game. Inactive players often get a workout in on the field prior to the game.
Quarterback Justin Fields said he learned Claypool would be inactive on Saturday. Fields called Claypool just to check in. If the team made this decision following Claypool’s comments Friday, than they presumably would’ve game planned all week as if Claypool were in the lineup.
“I mean, of course I’m frustrated when one of your best weapons on the outside is not in the game,” Fields said. “But it is what it is. The coach, the front office, they made their decision and it is what it is.”
I mean, of course I’m frustrated when one of your best weapons on the outside is not in the game. But it is what it is. The coach, the front office, they made their decision and it is what it is.”— Justin Fields, Bears quarterback
Fields said he has talked with Claypool multiple times about how he displays his emotions. That has been an ongoing issue since the Bears traded for Claypool at the trade deadline last year. The Bears gave up a second-round draft pick for him, which wound up being the No. 32 overall pick.
Equanimeous St. Brown played in place of Claypool on Sunday. He caught one pass for 21 yards.
It’s unclear where this goes from here. Eberflus said he fully expects Claypool to be back at Halas Hall on Monday morning. The Bears have a quick turnaround before a game against the Washington Commanders on Thursday.
Already, there’s some speculation that the Bears might be shopping Claypool on the trade market. Even if they do find a team that is interested in Claypool, they will certainly not land anything close to the second-round pick they gave up for him.
“As far as do I want him on this team? Yes, that’s an easy answer,” Fields said Sunday after the game.