Chase Claypool shared a photo of the tribute he made to fallen former Abbotsford Panthers teammate Samwel Uko during his NFL debut on Monday night. (Twitter photo)

Chase Claypool shared a photo of the tribute he made to fallen former Abbotsford Panthers teammate Samwel Uko during his NFL debut on Monday night. (Twitter photo)

Abbotsford’s Chase Claypool honours fallen teammate Samwel Uko in NFL debut

Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver wears wrist tape bearing last name of friend and teammate

Chase Claypool’s Grade 12 football season with the Abbotsford Panthers was one to remember.

He helped lead the Panthers to the AA provincial title game and was named the tier’s player of the year for 2015, but he also passed the Panthers torch to a young Grade 10 player that year – Samwel Uko.

Uko scored two touchdowns in that 2015 AA provincial title game and went on to have a successful high school football career in his own right, leading the Panthers back to the AA provincial title game in 2017.

Uko’s death back in May sent shockwaves throughout the B.C. football community, and obviously touched the teammate he looked up to as a Grade 10 rookie.

Claypool, who made his debut in the National Football League with the Pittsburgh Steelers on Monday, honoured his departed teammate and friend by writing his last name in the wrist tape he wore during the Steelers 26-16 win.

RELATED: Abbotsford’s Chase Claypool makes NFL debut with Pittsburgh Steelers

Panthers head coach Jay Fujimura tweeted out that he was moved by the gesture and believes that somewhere Uko is smiling at the decision to honour him.

“Class act Chase Claypool,” the Abby Panthers football account posted. “He looked up to you so much. I know he’s smiling right now. Great first game on top of it. Panther pride!”

Justin Paul, Uko’s uncle and the man who has acted as an unofficial spokesperson for the family during the news surrounding his death, told The News that he is honoured to see Claypool remember his nephew in such a thoughtful way.

“We really appreciate and thank that Samwel’s friends are still keeping his memory alive, that means so much to us – it brings peace into our heart,” he said. “We really thank Chase. God bless him.”

Paul added that it was inspiring to see Uko on Claypool’s wrist tape and it’s a nice moment in what has been a difficult few months for his family.

The photo seems to indicate that Claypool will be honouring Uko for the entire season.

Uko was found dead in Wascana Lake in Regina, Sask. on May 21 at the age of 20. After an excellent high school career with the Panthers, he played one year with the University of Saskatchewan Huskies and most recently played one season with the Langley Rams of the Canadian Junior Football League.

Claypool’s debut with the Steelers was a solid one, as he collected 48 yards total offence in the team’s win.

RELATED: Abbotsford football star Samwel Uko dies at age 20

FootballNational Football LeagueNFL

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A screenshot from a local Instagram account video. The account appeared to be frequented by Mission students, and showed violent videos of students assaulting and bullying other students.
Parents, former students describe ‘culture of bullying’ in Mission schools

Nearly two dozen voices come forward speaking of abuse haunting the hallways

The Great Blue Heron Nature Reserve’s network of trails is popular with outdoor enthusiasts. (chilliwackblueheron.com photo)
Provincial funding goes to Chilliwack’s Great Blue Heron Reserve for trail upgrades

The popular destination saw even more traffic in 2020 as people headed outdoors during the pandemic

The 4th Annual Fraser Valley Marches for Women March is virtual this year, and this file shot depicts speeches from the first march from Jan. 20, 2018. (Jennifer Feinberg/Chilliwack Progress file)
Video on women’s march emphasizes that violence against women increasing

Key messages from Chilliwack women leaders as the FV Marches for Women March goes virtual

(Black Press Media files)
Snowfall expected for Lower Mainland on Saturday night, Sunday morning

2 to 5 cm of snow predicted Metro Vancouver, according to Environment Canada

Toronto Public Health nurse Lalaine Agarin sets up for mass vaccination clinic in Toronto, Jan. 17, 2021. B.C. is set to to begin its large-scale immunization program for the general public starting in April. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
B.C.’s COVID-19 mass vaccinations expected to start in April

Clinics to immunize four million people by September

Abbotsford Police officers investigate the scene after a pedestrian was struck and killed on Friday morning. (Ben Lypka/Abbotsford News)
Male pedestrian, 37, killed in Abbotsford after being struck by vehicle

Collision took place in 31800 block of South Fraser Way on Friday morning

Police are searching for an alleged sex offender, Nicole Edwards, who they say has not returned to her Vancouver halfway house. (Police handout)
Police hunt for woman charged in ‘horrific’ assault who failed to return to Surrey halfway house

Call 911 immediately if you see alleged sex offender Nicole Edwards, police say

Joe Biden, then the U.S. vice-president, and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau take their seats at the start of the First Ministers and National Indigenous Leaders meeting in Ottawa, Friday, Dec. 9, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau, Biden to talk today as death of Keystone XL reverberates in Canada

President Joe Biden opposed the Keystone XL expansion as vice-president under Barack Obama

Prince Edward Island’s provincial flag flies on a flag pole in Ottawa, Friday July 3, 2020. A lozenge plant in Prince Edward Island has laid off 30 workers, citing an “almost non-existent” cold and cough season amid COVID-19 restrictions. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
‘Almost non-existent’ cold and cough season: P.E.I. lozenge plant lays off 30 workers

The apparent drop in winter colds across the country seems to have weakened demand for medicine and natural remedies

Robert Riley Saunders. (File)
Disgraced Kelowna social worker faces another class-action lawsuit

Zackary Alphonse claims he was not informed of resources available to him upon leaving government care

A specialized RCMP team is investigating a suspicious trailer, which might have connections to the illicit drug trade, found abandoned outside a Cache Creek motel. (Photo credit: <em>Journal</em> files)
Police probe U-Haul trailer linked to illicit drugs left outside Cache Creek motel

Hazardous materials found inside believed to be consistent with the production of illicit drugs

Premier John Horgan leaves the podium following his first press conference of the year as he comments on various questions from the media in the Press Gallery at B.C. Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Monday, January 13, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Interprovincial travel restrictions a no-go, Horgan says after reviewing legal options

The B.C. NDP government sought legal advice as concerns of travel continue

Gem Lake Top, at Big White Ski Resort, seen at Jan. 8. (Big White Ski Resort)
Big White cancels $7.3M in lift tickets, accommodations due to COVID-19 orders

Since November, the ski resort has been forced to make several changes

Most Read