Justin Fields

How Justin Fields has grown as Bears' QB while navigating uncertain future

Justin Fields' ability to face his uncertain Bears future with his head held high and grow with each snap might wind up being his lasting legacy

NBC Universal, Inc.

LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Uncertainty is nothing new to Justin Fields. The Bears' starting quarterback has dealt with it before in his football life.

He committed to Georgia out of high school, not knowing if he'd win the starting quarterback job over Jake Fromm. He transferred after his freshman season, eventually landing at Ohio State, unsure what that move would bring. The NFL draft is the ultimate tide pool of uncertainty, and it ultimately spit Fields out in Chicago as the latest in a long line of Bears' saviors.

So all the talk of Fields' unknown future at the helm of the Bears doesn't faze him. Not one bit.

"I've got too much to focus on today to worry about tomorrow," Fields said Wednesday at Halas Hall. "I've got to worry about this new game plan I've got, the play calls, and like I always say, we don't know if we're going to get it tomorrow. So there's no point in stressing about tomorrow if we don't know it's going to be here yet.

"None of us really have control over our future. The only person who really has control over it is God and shoot if he has control over it then I'm good. So whatever he does with my life I'm good with that. I've been in this position before so you know, there's no point because he's going to take are of everything for me. So I'll be good."

Fields has been at ease with his situation all season.

The 24-year-old quarterback entered the season knowing that he still had work to do to prove he was the Bears' long-term answer at quarterback.

An inconsistent start to the season, followed by a dislocated right thumb, put Fields behind the eight-ball in his quest to remove the doubt about his franchise quarterback abilities. The Bears' ownership of the Carolina Panthers' first-round pick in 2024 has only added to the constant debate about Fields' future in Chicago.

You might expect that pressure to build and force Fields to buckle. Instead, he has returned from the thumb injury and played his most efficient football in a Bears uniform.

In the five games since returning from the injury, Fields has thrown for 945 yards and four touchdowns while completing 60 percent of his passes (a number that is weighed down by a tough day against the Browns' NFL-best defense). He has thrown three interceptions during that time, but two came on Hail Mary attempts in Cleveland. He also has rushed for 348 yards and two scores.

Fields' improvement in Year 2 in offensive coordinator Luke Getsy's scheme has been evident to those inside Halas Hall, especially since his return.

"I think just regarding Justin, there’s been a tremendous amount of growth," Getsy said Thursday at Halas Hall. "Where he’s … just in this season alone, how far along he’s come — taking care of the football, being in control of the game. I think that’s been the coolest part since he’s come back. I just feel like he’s in control when he’s out there. That’s been a lot of fun to see.

"His ability to progress is better. His footwork is better. The protection part of it is outstanding. The completion percentage part of it is good. He’s throwing the ball accurately. The extended-play part of it has been a lot of fun to see him progress through that. So there’s been a lot of areas. I’m leaving other stuff out. But I think there’s been a lot of really cool stuff that Justin has grown through this year."

That Fields has been able to make constant progress while blocking out all the talk about his NFL future speaks to who he is as a leader and how much he wants things to work in Chicago.

"To me, that's why he wears the C on his jersey," quarterbacks coach Andrew Janocko said. "You put that C on your jersey, and not just for any organization, but you wear that C for the Chicago Bears, that kind of really speaks more to it than anything I could say about it. I think that comes with the territory That comes with being the quarterback in this city, for this franchise. It's expected and that's where we go with it. I'm in awe of it every day."

Fields has taken a philosophical approach to his future since the season started.

After the Bears' Week 3 blowout loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, Fields said he was focused on looking at the "big picture" as it pertains to "life."

Following the Bears' 27-16 win over the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday, Fields took a lap around Soldier Field and talked about focusing on wins over stats.

It feels like Fields understands that his NFL future likely will continue outside of Chicago. The Bears likely will own the No. 1 pick via the Carolina Panthers. Despite the clear growth he has shown this season, it's unlikely to be enough to sway general manager Ryan Poles from selecting either Caleb Williams or Drake Maye.

The cruelty of the NFL world has broken many young quarterbacks, especially those whose fates are out of their hands.

But Fields has shielded himself from it. Hard work, determination, faith, and a big-picture outlook have kept him clipping ahead, undeterred and undaunted by the unknown ahead.

"I mean, life isn’t fair," Fields said. "So me personally, I’m just focused on what I can control, and the rest is in God’s hands. Wherever, if I’m here next year, if I’m not, football doesn’t define who I am as a person. My happiness will still be in the same place, will still be in God. And really, just football-wise, life stuff in general, I think my faith in God, my hope in God, is just so much more than anything that can be thrown at me on this earth.

"Yeah, I mean, that’s why I don’t really stress over stuff like that, over stuff that I can’t control. I know that God’s got me, and I’m going to be good. I’m very blessed in the position I am in, and I think a million people would love to be in the position I am right now."

Fields will have at least two more games as the starting quarterback of the Bears.

Sunday's game against the Atlanta Falcons could be his final home game as the face of the NFL's charter franchise.

He'll soak in every minute, knowing what comes next is completely out of his control.

"Really just, I’m not taking that for granted and just taking each and every moment I have every day up here to the fullest," Fields said.

Click here to follow the Under Center Podcast.

Contact Us