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

The Majagaleehl Gali Aks Elementary School in Hazelton is being shut down for a week by the Gitanmaax Band Council following a confirmation of a COVID-19 exposure there on Feb. 26. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Hazelton school COVID-19 closure extended one week

With spring break on horizon, Majagaleehl Gali Aks Elementary will be closed to end of March

BC CDC graphic showing weekly numbers of new cases by local health area.
Local health area records 11 new COVID-19 cases from Feb. 21 to 27

The Northwest has become the COVID hotspot in the province

The Smithers recycling depot was destroyed by fire May 9, 2019. (Thom Barker photo)
Curbside recycling pickup returns to Smithers

The Town will start collecting single stream, loose and clean residential recyclables April 12

Adam's Igloo sustained serious damage when the roof collapsed. (Facebook photo)
Roof collapses on Smithers landmark

Cleanup efforts underway at Adams Igloo and Wildlife Museum

Instructor and master artist Dempsey Bob (right) speaks to the crowd at the Terrace Art Gallery about the importance of cultural art on Feb. 7, 2020. Bob is a recipient of a 2021 Governor General’s Awards in Visual and Media Arts Artistic Achievement Award. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Northwest artist Dempsey Bob wins national art award

Renowned Tahltan-Tlingit master carver one of eight people to receive Governor General’s Arts Award

The James C Richardson Pipe Band marches in a Remembrance Day parade on Nov. 11, 2019 in Chilliwack. Wednesday, March 10 is International Bagpipe Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of March 7 to 13

International Bagpipe Day, Wash Your Nose Day and Kidney Day are all coming up this week

Hockey hall-of-fame legend Wayne Gretzky, right, watches the casket of his father, Walter Gretzky, as it is carried from the church during a funeral service in Brantford, Ont., Saturday, March 6, 2021. HE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky remembered as a man with a ‘heart of gold’ at funeral

The famous hockey father died Thursday at age 82 after battling Parkinson’s disease

Donald Alan Sweet was once an all star CFL kicker who played for the Montreal Alouettes and Montreal Concordes over a 13-year career. Photo courtesy of Mission RCMP.
Retired B.C. teacher and star CFL kicker charged for assault, sexual crimes against former students

Donald Sweet taught in Mission School District for 10 years, investigators seek further witnesses

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Highway 14 (Sooke Road) is closed between Impala Road and Humpback Road after one man was shot dead Friday night. (Black Press Media file photo)
One man shot dead on Vancouver Island in possible ‘targeted incident’

Highway 14 closed in Metchosin, detour made available early Saturday

Personal protective equipment is seen in the COVID-19 intensive care unit at St. Paul’s hospital in downtown Vancouver. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
$16.9 million invested to improve worker safety, strengthen B.C.’s food supply chain

Money to be used for social distancing, personal protective equipment, cleaning, and air circulation

More than ever before, as pandemic conditions persist, the threat of data breaches and cyberattacks continues to grow, according to SFU professor Michael Parent. (Pixabay photo)
SFU expert unveils 5 ways the COVID-19 pandemic has forever changed cybersecurity

Recognizing these changes is the first in a series of steps to mitigate them once the pandemic ends, and before the next: Michael Parent

Kevin Haughton is the founder/technologist of Courtenay-based Clearflo Solutions. Scott Stanfield photo
Islander aims Clearflo clean drinking water system at Canada’s remote communities

Entrepreneur $300,000 mobile system can produce 50,000 litres of water in a day, via solar energy

Malawian police guard AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines after the shipment arrived in Lilongwe, Malawi, Friday March 5, 2021. Canada is expecting its first shipments of AstraZeneca vaccine next week. (Associated Press/Thoko Chikondi)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 cases climb to 634 Friday, four more deaths

Currently 255 people in hospital, 66 in intensive care

Most Read