Bears’ Matt Eberflus cites punctuality, respect, effort regarding Chase Claypool absence


Bears coach Matt Eberflus said disgruntled wide receiver Chase Claypool won’t be at Halas Hall this week and won’t play Thursday against the Commanders. That almost certainly signals the end of his run with the team after just 10 games.

Eberflus wouldn’t answer whether the Bears will keep Claypool away until they trade or waive him and said general manager Ryan Poles will handle any potential transaction.

The Bears benched Claypool ahead of their 31-28 loss to the Broncos on Sunday, and that appeared to be a point of no return in the ongoing mess.

Claypool has four catches for 51 yards and a touchdown this season.

When asked Monday about the factors that led to this outcome with Claypool, Eberflus gave a broad answer about how punctuality, respect and effort are key components of the Bears’ standard, implying that Claypool had issues in those areas.

The Claypool debacle stands as the biggest mistake of the Poles-Eberflus era. They got into a bidding war with the Packers when the Steelers were looking to trade him last year and gave up a second-round pick that ultimately was No. 32 overall.

When he got off to a slow start last season with just 14 catches for 140 yards in seven games, the Bears repeatedly defended him and asked for patience. Everyone from Eberflus to offensive coordinator Luke Getsy to Justin Fields said he needed time to learn the offense and acclimate to a new team.

Fields backed him again Sunday, saying “of course” he wanted Claypool to stay on the team.

That transition period was supposed to be over by now, but Eberflus made reference again recently to Claypool adapting to the scheme.

This season began with Claypool missing time because of an injury during training camp and, when he did practice, starting confrontations with teammates on the field. Then, in the opener against the Packers, he gave such a poor effort blocking on some plays that he later apologized to the team.

As the situation deteriorated, Claypool pushed it over the edge Friday by venting that the Bears were not putting him in the best position to succeed.

“Every situation has the ability to be ideal — we’re just working towards that,” Claypool said. “I wouldn’t say that it’s not an ideal place for me.

“Obviously, there’s other places. You can say, ‘Oh, I want to be on the best offense with the highest passing yards,’ but that doesn’t happen in football. You just have to make do with what you’ve got.”

When asked how the Bears should be using him, Claypool said, “I’ll let them decide that. I’m not gonna give any pointers. That’s their job to decide, and I’ll just do what they tell me to do.”

The Bears surely had a list of reasons to make Claypool inactive Sunday, and Eberflus indirectly referenced some of them Sunday.

“We obviously evaluate meetings evaluate walk-throughs, we evaluate practice … and then we declare actives or inactives based on that,” he said. “And this week, Claypool was inactive.”


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