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Claypool, Fields looking to strengthen connection in offseason

Bears receiver Chase Claypool and quarterback Justin Fields
Bears receiver Chase Claypool and quarterback Justin Fields

Receiver Chase Claypool has spent just over two months in Chicago – playing in just six games for the Bears this season – and is already confident about the trajectory of the young roster, including quarterback Justin Fields.

But Claypool is also a ultra-competitive, passionate player and late in the fourth quarter of last Sunday's 41-10 loss in Detroit, his frustrations about the offensive struggles that day became visible. The third-year pro said his emotions arose because the unit went three-and-out on multiple drives and he wanted to voice that empty possessions "can't just be okay," no matter what the deficit was.

"Even if it was 31-10 or whatever in the third quarter, we can still win that game," Claypool said. "You see what the Vikings did down 33-0 at halftime. We're always in every game, no matter what the score is for the most part until that final whistle blows. So it's like, I just want to feel that belief. I want to feel it. We're a good team. We're going to be a good team next year. But we have to be real uncomfortable with losing."

Fields was quick to notice Claypool's frustration on Sunday and went over to calm his receiver down and refocus the energy on the game. After the game, Fields told reporters he understood where Claypool's emotions were coming from and that the receiver responded well to the conversation.

"He's passionate about the game, but I think he was just showing his emotions, which is good to have emotion in a game," Fields said Sunday, "But you just have to know how to control it, and you can't let it come out like that because at the end of the day, that's not helping anybody. That's not helping the team.

"Everybody's frustrated. We're getting blown out, like just call it what it is. We got punched in the mouth. Everybody feels that way, but I talked to him like, 'That's not going to do anything. That's not helping anybody. That's just spreading everybody apart.' We need to be here for each other, stick with each other, and fight because not many teams in this league are going to fight the way we did."

Claypool said he and Fields both explained their points of view during the in-game exchange and came to a common ground, doing so with mutual respect. 

While Claypool was traded to Chicago on Nov. 1, and first suited up for the Bears in Week 9 against Miami, he and Fields have only played five games together. Claypool missed the Eagles and Bills games with a knee injury and Fields was out for the Week 12 contest against the Jets. 

With little time to form an on-field connection, the pair is looking forward to working out and training together in the offseason. While Claypool said he'll be in Los Angeles for the most part, he and Fields already talked about getting together in Florida or Georgia.

One thing Claypool and Fields know they have in common is their desire to win. Claypool said he's learned Fields is "one of those guys that hates losing just as much as I do," and is thankful to have a quarterback "who wants to win just as bad as you do."

"You all have got to keep in mind that he came in the middle of the season," Fields said after Sunday's game. "It's hard to learn an offense like this in the middle of the season. And I think he's done a good job of that. By this time next year, we're rolling. I mean it's a whole offseason.

"I'm going to link up with him in the offseason. We're going to get working, and we're going to keep working, and I just know his passion for the game and know his work ethic, and I know that he wants to be great, so we're going to get together and work out, and just [get] on the same page in the offseason."

The Bears spent Thursday afternoon on the practice fields at Halas Hall getting ready for Sunday's season finale against the Minnesota Vikings.