This NFL rookie is making history and has a Sask. connection
REGINA -- A Canadian NFL rookie is making history, and he has a Saskatchewan connection.
Receiver Chase Claypool became the first Canadian in the leagues history to score four touchdowns in a single game, when he helped the Steelers beat the Eagles 38 to 29 on Sunday.
He’s the fifth youngest player in NFL history to make the achievement.
Claypool’s mother is from Hudson Bay, Sask. Sharon Bishop, Claypool’s common-law great aunt, has been cheering him on from her home in Regina. She’s been boasting about the family star since he was a freshman with the Notre Dame Fighting Irish.
“Going to a prestigious school like Notre Dame you had to have some God given talent, which Ben Roethlisberger said he has,” said Bishop, who admits that was the first time she was aware of Claypool’s talent.
That’s also how most of Saskatchewan’s CFL stars became aware of the Steelers’ rookie.
Bishop worked in the Riders store, often chatting with players when they came in during the season.
“I remember a conversation with Shaq Evans, because I knew he attended Notre Dame for a year,” Bishop said.
Evans, last year’s reception leader with the Riders, tweeted about the introduction to Claypool following his historic performance. Riders former offensive lineman Dakoda Shepley, who is currently on San Francisco’s practice roster, also chimmed in.
Bishop even spoke to former Riders GM and Head Coach Chris Jones about her great-nephew, offering up a scouting report.
“My great nephews playing for Notre Dame, and he’s up and coming and he’s Canadian, we may have a shot at him some day, but not expecting he’d be NFL,” Bishop told Jones.
It hasn’t been an easy year for Bishop. She was furloughed by the Riders earlier this month.
It’s also been a tough year for Claypool.
One of his best friends from highschool, Samwel Uko, took his life in May. Claypool tweeted, “Uko was the best highschool player I’ve ever played with or against,” and dedicated his rookie NFL season to his friend, writing “UKO” on his wrist for each game.
“I kinda almost got chocked up when I put two and two together that this was his friend,” Bishop said.
There’s little chance we’ll ever see Claypool in the CFL, given his impressive NFL start. In week two of NFL action, the receiver notched the longest touchdown catch ever by a Canadian, an 84-yard reception, then followed it up with the record breaking performance this past weekend.
Bishop has never met her great-nephew, but given all she’s endured this past year, she calls him “a light” for her.