For Friday’s “First Call,” Pittsburgh Steelers receiver Chase Claypool can’t get out of his own way. The Steelers may have to fight to keep Matt Canada on staff. And tackle Zach Banner seems optimistic about his future in Pittsburgh.
All that and some college basketball news, too.
Steelers wide receiver Chase Claypool is doubling down on his Cleveland Browns critique.
Browns players fired back at Claypool after he said the Browns would get “clapped” by Kansas City this weekend. Even after the Browns “clapped” the Steelers 48-37 on Sunday.
Despite being called out by the Cleveland locker room, Claypool went on DAZN Canada and justified his statements.
“I think if the Browns had won with more class, I wouldn’t have been so salty about it, but them mocking JuJu during the game and after the game, it just didn’t sit right with me,” Claypool said. “They were just super classless, against JuJu, toward JuJu, what they were saying on the field towards the end of the game. I’m not going to have respect for a team that doesn’t have respect for us.”
He wasn’t done.
“They can enjoy the win and another week of football, but they’ll be on the couch right next to me next week, so it’s all good.”
Yup! There’s the kicker. Here. Take look for yourself.
— DAZN Canada (@DAZN_CA) January 13, 2021
That interview was posted Wednesday. But Claypool is calling it “old.” Even though it was obviously conducted after his original comments Monday and the ensuing responses from the Browns. So how “old” can it be?
And now he is wishing luck to Cleveland.
This is an OLD interview happening right after the fact. Talked to some friends on the browns and it’s all love! Hoping them nothing but the best for the rest of playoffs! Go rep the division ??? https://t.co/GuQJWHeB2U
— Chase Claypool (@ChaseClaypool) January 14, 2021
I’m not sure what they call this in Canada, Chase. But it strikes me that you are trying to put the toothpaste back in the tube, eh?
At least one pending Steelers free agent is hitting the open market with optimism about his future in Pittsburgh.
That seems to be the case based on this tweet from Steelers tackle Zach Banner.
Best exit interview ever… Back to work…
— Zach Banner (@ZBNFL) January 14, 2021
Banner won the starting right tackle position after a training camp battle with Chuks Okorafor. But Banner suffered an ACL injury in Week 1 against the New York Giants. That kept him sidelined for the rest of the season.
Banner also took the time to thank retiring tight ends coach James Daniel.
Greatest coach I’ve ever worked with. He demanded heart, and supported those who loved and respected the game.
He challenged me, and I responded. And I was able to tell him I loved him for it on his glorious day or retirement.
I told him, “I’ll make you proud coach.”
TY JD https://t.co/zhU5lZHslO
— Zach Banner (@ZBNFL) January 14, 2021
Daniel, 67, came to the Steelers in 2004. Former Steelers head coach Bill Cowher hired him. Mike Tomlin kept him on the staff when he became head coach in 2007.
Canada to Florida?
Many are wondering if Steelers quarterback coach Matt Canada will replace deposed offensive coordinator Randy Fichtner.
If that’s going to happen, there may be a bidding war with the Miami Dolphins first. ESPN’s Cameron Wolfe reports that Canada is a candidate to become the new offensive coordinator with the Dolphins.
List of Dolphins interview candidates, per source
Dolphins RB coach Eric Studesville
Dolphins QB coach George Godsey
Clemson OC Tony Elliott
Chargers QB coach Pep Hamilton
49ers run game coordinator Mike McDaniel
Steelers QB coach Matt Canada
— Cameron Wolfe (@CameronWolfe) January 14, 2021
If I’m Canada, I take the Dolphins job if the salaries are commensurate. The Steelers are a team on the decline. The Dolphins are a team on the rise. A lot of his misdirection and motion schemes will be more transferable to a young quarterback recently removed from college in Tua Tagovailoa than to an older, established pocket guy like Ben Roethlisberger.
And while Roethlisberger never seemed to have much personal static toward Canada — as he did toward Todd Haley — he didn’t exactly seem interested in adopting a lot of Canada’s philosophies.
You saw a lot of Canada’s offensive influence early in the season. But it faded quickly.
Staying in Pittsburgh under the current situation would be a fool’s errand for Canada. He’d be nothing more than a bridge between Fichtner and Roethlisberger’s retirement after 2021 ends.
And if the Steelers crash — which I’m expecting — Canada may be one-and-done in Pittsburgh as coordinator, perhaps with Tomlin going out the door in 2021 as well.
Take the Miami job if you can get it, Matt. Better fit. Better weather. Better future.
On the move
According to Mike DeCourcy of The Sporting News, the Atlantic 10 Tournament will not be held in Brooklyn as planned.
The Atlantic 10 will be moving its tournament from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn to one of its member campuses — although they haven’t yet decided which one.
— Michael DeCourcy (@tsnmike) January 14, 2021
Many who follow Duquesne immediately wondered if the venue could be shifted to Pittsburgh. Perhaps at the new UPMC Chuck Cooper Field House if it is finished in time? Perhaps PPG Paints Arena?
Don’t hold your breath. Since Pennsylvania is generally as loathe to entertaining events in covid-19 times as New York is, such a move would make little sense politically. Even if the virus is better contained and the vaccine is widely disseminated by then.
Plus, Duquesne may not want to stage a significant event like that at its new building if it hasn’t even been able to work out the kinks in the facility for a full season of Dukes basketball first.
However, there is a hole at PPG Paints Arena, at least in terms of the Penguins schedule. The Pens are on the road that weekend. They are in Buffalo. Their last home game before the tournament will be Tuesday, March 9 against the New York Rangers. And the next one isn’t scheduled until Monday, March 15 against the Boston Bruins.
But I’m still betting on UD Arena in Dayton.
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