WR Chase Claypool: Dealing for me was ‘great trade’ for Bears

Claypool hears what Bears fans are saying — that he might not be more valuable than the second-round draft pick, currently No. 34, the Bears sent to the Steelers to acquire him.

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Detroit Lions v Chicago Bears

Bears receiver Chase Claypool warms up in November.

Photo by Quinn Harris/Getty Images

Receiver Chase Claypool hears what Bears fans are saying — that he might not be more valuable than the second-round draft pick, currently No. 34 overall, the Bears sent to the Steelers to acquire him in November.

‘‘No doubt, that adds to my motivation this offseason,’’ Claypool said. ‘‘This offseason might be my biggest offseason yet. I’m real excited. . . .

‘‘We traded away a top second-round pick, very valuable. I smile because I know it was a great trade for the organization. . . . I don’t want to get roasted for saying something too soon, like I have before. But I feel very confident the fans, the organization, the team will be happy.’’

Claypool returned to practice Thursday, albeit in a limited capacity, for the first time since hurting his right knee Dec. 4 against the Packers. He had been limited in one walkthrough since while dealing with what he called a ‘‘frustrating’’ injury. He has a chance to face the Lions on Sunday in Detroit.

‘‘I’m going to do everything I can to play,’’ he said. ‘‘So my expectation for myself is to play. But I also have got to be smart. I’ve just got to make sure that, even though I really want to play . . . I’ve just got to make the right decision.’’

Claypool said he doesn’t have to prove anything in the Bears’ final two games, but he wants to ‘‘go out there and play and make plays.’’ He knows he has ground to make up. Claypool has appeared in five games since the Bears traded for him Nov. 1, catching only 12 passes for 111 yards.

It might not look like it, but Claypool said there was a benefit to him starting his career with the Bears during the season.

‘‘I’m going to get with [quarterback] Justin [Fields] and the receivers in the offseason, and we’re going to start building this,’’ he said. ‘‘Not only this season but in the offseason. I’ll be really excited for next season.

‘‘I hope people haven’t counted me out yet, you know? I’ve got a lot to bring to the table.’’

More receivers hurt

Receiver Equanimeous St. Brown returned to practice in limited fashion for the first time since suffering a concussion in the first quarter Dec. 18 against the Eagles. He remains in the NFL’s concussion protocol, however, and has not yet been cleared to play Sunday.

St. Brown declined comment, saying he wasn’t allowed to give interviews while in the protocol.

Fellow receiver Dante Pettis, who has been the Bears’ primary punt returner, sat out practice because of an ankle injury.

This and that

Guard Cody Whitehair, who returned to practice in a limited fashion Wednesday after suffering a knee injury, was a full participant and is on track to play Sunday. So is fellow guard Teven Jenkins, who practiced in full for the second consecutive day after hurting his neck against the Eagles.

• Defensive lineman Justin Jones, who was limited with an eye issue Wednesday, returned to full participation. Defensive lineman Sterling Weatherford (illness) and guard Ja’Tyre Carter (back) sat out.

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