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 second of two massive hydro-electric turbines headed to the Site C Dam project near Fort St. John sits in Prince Rupert ready for the Jan. 27 trek across the province. The load is so large and heavy it needs counterweights on the 120 ft transport truck and trailer (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)
Second of two giant turbines and multi-vehicle convoy hit the road to Site C Dam

Massive turbine load from Prince Rupert needs one truck pulling it and two trucks to push it

John Rustad, MLA Nechako Lakes. (Submitted photo)
Nechako Lakes MLA questions vaccine supply shift

John Rustad wonders why elderly aren’t being vaccinated while younger people are

The first Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine dose in Canada is prepared at The Michener Institute in Toronto on Monday, Dec. 14, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn)
Saik’uz First Nation forced to change initial COVID-19 vaccine rollout plan

The First Nation community is looking at vaccinating elders 80 + only

Operating Room nurse Tammy Solecki, Clinical Practice Leader Joanne George, and Orthopedic Surgeon Dr. Van Zyl, stand alongside new equipment G.R. Baker’s shoulder surgery extension. (Submitted photo)
New shoulder surgery program at G.R. Baker Hospital in Quesnel already getting rave reviews

The $200,000 program could support nearly 100 surgeries a year at G.R. Baker Memorial Hospital

British Columbia Health Minister Adrian Dix looks on as Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry addresses the media during a news conference at the BC Centre of Disease Control in Vancouver B.C. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
B.C. announces 485 new COVID-19 cases, fewest deaths in months

‘The actions we take may seem small, but will have a big impact to stop the virus,” urges Dr. Henry

Royal B.C. Museum conservator Megan Doxsey-Whitfield kneels next to a carved stone pillar believed to have significance as a First Nations cultural marker by local Indigenous people. The pillar was discovered on the beach at Dallas Road last summer. Museum curatorial staff have been working with Songhees and Esquimalt Nation representatives to gain a clearer picture of its use. (Photo courtesy Royal BC Museum)
Stone carving found on Victoria beach confirmed Indigenous ritual pillar

Discussion underway with the Esquimalt and Songhees about suitable final home for the artifact

Former Vancouver Giants forward Evander Kane is seen here in Game 7 of the second round of the 2009 WHL playoffs against the Spokane Chiefs (Sam Chan under Wikipedia Commons licence)
Gambling debts revealed in details of bankruptcy filing by hockey star Evander Kane

Sharks left winger and former Vancouver Giants player owes close to $30 million total

Othman “Adam” Hamdan, pictured in front of Christina Lake’s Welcome Centre, was acquitted of terrorism related charges in 2017. He has been living in Christina Lake since November 2020. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Man acquitted on terrorism charges awaits deportation trial while living in Kootenays

Othman Ayed Hamdan said he wants to lead a normal life while he works on his upcoming book

B.C. Premier John Horgan wears a protective face mask to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 prior to being sworn in by The Honourable Janet Austin, Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia during a virtual swearing in ceremony in Victoria, Thursday, November 26, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Premier Horgan calls jumping COVID vaccine queue ‘un-Canadian’

Horgan says most people in B.C. are doing their best to follow current public health guidelines

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, left, and Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart share a laugh while speaking to the media before sitting down for a meeting at City Hall, in Vancouver, on Friday August 30, 2019. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)
Vancouver mayor, Health Canada to formally discuss drug decriminalization

Kennedy Stewart says he’s encouraged by the federal health minister’s commitment to work with the city

Downtown Fernie is pictured after a snowfall.
B.C. Premier John Horgan speaks at B.C. legislature on the province’s mass vaccination plan for COVID-19, Jan. 22, 2021. (B.C. government)
COVID-19 quarantine not an option for B.C., John Horgan says

Apres-ski parties increase risk, not interprovincial travel

Most Read