Justin Fields is ready to go to work. The new Chicago Bears quarterback set foot in Halas Hall for the first time on Friday, and he talked with the media about his first full day as a member of the team. Fields, who noted that he had met fellow quarterback Andy Dalton previously before his Pro Day, also met one of his weapons in speedy running back Tarik Cohen.
“Walking around in the facility today, I met a few guys. I met Tarik Cohen. I actually met Andy Dalton out in California before my pro day. He’s a great guy,” Fields said. “My plan in getting to know my teammates is just be myself. That’s an easy job for me. I just can’t wait to meet all of them and get to work with them.”
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Fields Has Had to Get Acclimated to a New Environment Before
As it turns out, a decision Fields made after his freshman year has taught him an incredible amount about what it takes to be a leader. Fields began his collegiate career with the Georgia Bulldogs, and he appeared in 12 regular-season games as a freshman, netting 328 passing yards, 266 rushing yards, eight total touchdowns and no interceptions.
Fields, who also played baseball for the Bulldogs as a freshman, had an unfortunate incident occur involving another Georgia baseball player directing racial slurs at him, and that, coupled with his bond with Ohio State head coach Ryan Day, led to his transfer to OSU.
When asked how he connected with and earned the trust of his teammates when he transferred from Georgia to Ohio State, Fields shared what could be the blueprint for how he will take the reins from Dalton when it’s time. “What I pretty much did there was show them how much I wanted to win and how much I wanted to be there,” Fields said.
“I did that by working hard in workouts and weight training and coming in first in sprint drills and stuff like that. As time went along, I just started building personal relationships (with) guys who were freshmen, guys who were seniors and guys who were walk-ons. I think it’s very important to get to know your teammates and kind of build those personal relationships with them, so that way you can connect on the highest level.”
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Fields Will Sit Behind Dalton Until He’s Ready
When he was asked if he would be ready to hit the field Week 1 as the team’s starter, he said it wasn’t up to him. “Yeah, I mean that’s not up to me. That’s up to coach. My job is simply to perform the best I can perform and be the best quarterback I can be so I think that’s a question for coach Nagy.”
Clearly, Fields is going to be fine with taking things one step at a time, and he understands the value of hard work. A veteran like Dalton will be there to mentor him, but the Red Rifle will also have no choice but to respect the decision to go to Fields if and when it happens. Dalton is a professional, and he’ll want to do what’s best for his team. As it stands, though, Dalton will start Week 1 and for the 2021 season unless something changes.
Regardless, Fields made it clear he’s in Chicago for the long haul, and says he’ll be ready for the spotlight when it’s his turn to take the reins from Dalton.
“There is really no added pressure. I came from a big program like Ohio State where the fan base is very passionate about their sports, so there’s definitely no added pressure for me,” Fields said, adding: “I expect myself to be a franchise quarterback and one day hopefully a top-five quarterback in this league. That’s what I’m going out to do, I’m going to work every day to reach my goal and reach new heights.”
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