Pregame Blog: Steelers vs. Lions

A look at all of the activities happening before tonight's Steelers preseason game against the Detroit Lions at Heinz Field.

A special rookie season: The Steelers didn't have a pick in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft, after trading it to acquire Minkah Fitzpatrick. But they still found first-round talent in dynamic wide receiver Chase Claypool, the team's second round pick out of Notre Dame.

Claypool made a splash this season while being a major contributor to the offense. He was the recipient of the Joe Greene Great Performance Award, given to the team's Rookie of the Year by the Pittsburgh Chapter of the Pro Football Writers of America and was selected to the Pro Football Writers of America All-Rookie Team.

And on Saturday night, he will receive the award, honored at halftime of the game.

He finished the regular season with 62 receptions for 873 yards, a 14.1-yard average, and nine receiving touchdowns, adding 10 carries for 16 yards and two rushing touchdowns.

Claypool had a day very few in Steelers history have had In Week 4 when he scored four touchdowns in the Steelers 38-29 win over the Philadelphia Eagles at Heinz Field and was named the AFC Offensive Player of the Week.

Claypool had seven receptions for 110 yards, three of those seven catches were touchdowns, and also rushed for a two-yard score.

Claypool became the first rookie in team history to score four touchdowns in a game, and only the third player in team history to do so, the last one when Roy Jefferson caught four touchdown passes against Atlanta on Nov. 3, 1968, while also becoming only the third player in team history to score 24 points in a game.

Claypool also became the first Steelers rookie with a receiving and rushing touchdown in the same game since Franco Harris did it at Buffalo in 1972.

Claypool had multiple receptions in all but two games this season, including a career high against Dallas when he had eight receptions, going for 68 yards. He has earned praise from all around the NFL and has been a nightmare for opposing coaches and defensive coordinators.

2020 Highlights
• Led all rookies with 9 TD receptions in 2020.
• Tied with Antonio Gibson for the second-most total TDs by a rookie in 2020 (11).
• His 11 TDs rank tied for sixth by a rookie wideout in a season since 1970.
• His 9 TD receptions rank tied for 10th by a rookie in a season since 1970.
• Moved past Louis Lipps (860 in 1984) for third on the Steelers rookie single-season receiving yards list.
• His 62 receptions are the most by a Steelers' rookie in a single season.
• His 9 TD receptions are tied with Louis Lipps (1984) for the most TD catches by a Steelers' rookie in a single season.
• Joined Jerry Butler (1979) and Harlon Hill (1954) as the only rookie wide receivers in NFL history to score 4 TDs in a single game (10/11/20 vs Philadelphia).
• Became the first Steelers rookie in franchise history to score 4 TDs in a single game (Eric Green, Franco Harris and Jimmy Orr each had 3 as rookies).
• Became the first Steeler to score 4 TDs in a single game since 11/3/68 (Roy Jefferson).
• First Steelers rookie with a rushing TD and receiving TD in the same game since Franco Harris at Buffalo (10/29/72).

The winners are: The recipients of the 2021 Art Rooney Scholarship were announced prior to the game, with Pat Rooney-Gerrero, granddaughter of Art Rooney Sr. and daughter of Dan Rooney Sr., presenting the scholarships to the winners.

The three winners are Shealin O'Shea from North Catholic High School, who will attend the University of Pittsburgh where she will major in business analytics and information technology, and Rooney Scholars of the Pittsburgh Promise, Gamar Muya from Perry High School, who will attend the University of Pittsburgh and major in biology and Jacquay Jackson, also from Perry High School, who will attend Indiana University of Pa. and major in culinary arts.

Just for kicks: The annual United Way of Southwestern Pennsylvania Kick Off event will take place at halftime of tonight's game against the Lions at Heinz Field, and it will be field goals that will be the primary goal for the fundraising endeavor.

Three kickers from area companies will compete to earn the honor of presenting a check to the United Way to begin their campaign.

To get the contest going on game day, the Terrible Towel Twirl will be led by Adam Baron, Director of Workplace Campaigns for the United Way, and the three kickers.

A look at player arrivals before the Steelers' preseason Week 2 game against the Detroit Lions at Heinz Field

Celebrating youth football: The Steelers are celebrating Play Football Month. As a part of the celebration those who attended Steelers Youth Football Camps this year will be guests of the team at the game.

In addition, the Freeport High School football team will also be at the game as guests of the team. The Steelers and Ben Roethlisberger worked with Make-A-Wish and Nike to fulfill a wish of Freeport senior and cancer survivor, Garrett King, to provide new uniforms for the entire football team.

The Best of the Batch Foundation, and former Steelers quarterback Charlie Batch, also recognized standout student athletes to watch in the upcoming high school football season. The 10th annual "Best of the Batch" All-WPIAL Preseason Team is made up of players of 25 players from 19 school districts from across the region.

Doing their part: The Steelers, Heinz Field Management and Giant Eagle Pharmacy hosted a free COVID-19 vaccination clinic for game attendees prior to tonight's preseason game against the Detroit Lions. Vaccines were available to ticket holders prior to kickoff at two separate locations in Heinz Field, including the Main Concourse West and Ford Fan Zone Plaza East.

The Steelers and Giant Eagle partnered earlier this year for a vaccination clinic in the PNC Champions Club at Heinz Field that was largely successful. Over 55,000 vaccines were administered during the clinic that ran from early March until late May.

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