Chase Claypool: I was excited when JuJu Smith-Schuster came back

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Before JuJu Smith-Schuster elected to return to the Steelers on a one-year, $8 million deal, he entertained offers from the Ravens and Chiefs.

But when he decided to bet on himself by sticking with the team that drafted him, one of the receivers who may have benefited from his exit was happy to see it happen.

Chase Claypool led all rookies with nine receiving touchdowns in 2020 — tying Smith-Schuster for the team lead. Claypool noted last week he didn’t think Smith-Schuster wanted to depart the franchise.

“I think a lot of people were expecting him not to come back, not because he didn’t want to but because of the cap space situation,” Claypool said, via the Steelers website. “We all knew he really wanted to come back, we just didn’t know if it was possible. When he came back, I was excited because not only is he a good friend, but a good player, a good teammate too. He does a lot for us. Always good to have a guy like that in the building.”

Smith-Schuster led Pittsburgh with 97 receptions last year and was third on the team with 831 yards. Since the Steelers drafted him in the second round of the 2017 draft out of USC, he has 308 catches for 3,726 yards with 26 touchdowns.