Bears Problems Take Another Bizarre Turn

Sep 24, 2023; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Chicago Bears wide receiver Chase Claypool (10) spins a ball on his finger during warmups before a game against the Kansas City Chiefs at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports.

The Chicago Bears haven’t won a football game since October 24, 2022, a drought spanning 343 days and counting.

On Sunday, Chicago hopped to a 28-7 lead at Soldier Field over the Denver Broncos with about four minutes remaining in the 3rd Quarter. It later lost the game 31-28, a collapse that would raise even Matt Ryan’s eyebrows.

Bears Problems Take Another Bizarre Turn

Then on Monday, a day after the meltdown, head coach Matt Eberflus explained wide receiver Chase Claypool wouldn’t be allowed at team facilities this week, with Thursday Night Football around the bend. The Bears take on the Washington Commanders in three days.

Bears Problems
Nov 20, 2022; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Chicago Bears wide receiver Chase Claypool (10) prepares for a game against the Atlanta Falcons at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports.

“He is not going to be in the building this particular week on this short week. I can give you that,” Eberflus told ESPN radio one day after his club fell to 0-4.

The Bears swung a trade for Claypool at the NFL’s trade deadline last year on the same day the Minnesota Vikings netted T.J. Hockenson from the Detroit Lions. Chicago’s general manager Ryan Poles spent the 32nd overall pick on Claypool, a draft-capital morsel usually considered a 1st-Rounder but flushed out as the first pick in the 2nd Round last April. Bears fans are quick to point out that Chicago did not spend a 1st-Rounder on Claypool — it was a 2nd-Rounder, they say.

Bears Choose Starting QB vs. Vikings
Jan 1, 2023; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Chicago Bears head coach Matt Eberflus watches their game against the Detroit Lions from the sidelines in the third quarter at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Lon Horwedel-USA TODAY Sports.

The Steelers, Claypool’s former employer, used the 32nd overall pick to draft cornerback Joey Porter Jr., who is off to a magnificent start in Pittsburgh, with a 71.5 Pro Football Focus grade.

Claypool was a healthy scratch in Week 4 during the collapse at home to Denver and was curiously told not to attend the game at all. Couple that pregame advice with Eberflus’ directive that Claypool won’t be in the building this week, and Claypool’s status with the Bears is on rocky footing.

Jan 8, 2023; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Chicago Bears wide receiver Chase Claypool (10) high-fives fans before the team’s game against the Minnesota Vikings at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports.

The 2023 trade deadline is on Halloween, so if Claypool isn’t outright released, he could be sent to his third NFL team in the next four weeks.

Claypool played in the Bears first three games — all losses — totaling 4 receptions for 51 yards on 14 targets. He took the league by storm in 2020 — Justin Jefferson’s rookie season — banking 62 catches for 873 receiving yards and a whopping 9 touchdowns as a rookie.

Yet, after the Week 4 deactivation and apparent Week 5 ban, that rookie statline feels like one million years ago.

Sep 24, 2023; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Chicago Bears wide receiver Chase Claypool (10) warms up against the Kansas City Chiefs prior to a game at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports.

If the Bears lose Thursday night to the Commanders, they’ll hope to snap the giant winless streak at home in Week 6 — against the Vikings.

Claypool turned 25 in July.

Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sal Spice. His Vikings obsession dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ Basset Hounds, and The Doors (the band).

All statistics provided by Pro Football Reference / Stathead; all contractual information provided by