Justin Fields

Justin Fields takes the high road on Bears' past ahead of Steelers' future

Fields expressed his appreciation for the Bears organization after trading him to the Steelers

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Justin Fields endured no easy task being traded from the Bears to the Steelers on March 16 ahead of a pivotal contract season.

But during his first media session with his new team in Pittsburgh, he took the high road on his reflection on his native team and the grueling process of being traded.

"There were a lot of ups and downs," Fields said. "But all-in-all I appreciate every relationship that I built. All my teammates, they know that. Nothing but love for the city, the fans and my old teammates and coaches."

MORE: Justin Fields speaks on Ryan Poles, Steelers trade in first Pittsburgh press conference

Fields found himself stranded on an island during the early part of the offseason while waiting for the Bears to make their decision about the future of the quarterback position. He mentioned to the St. Brown brothers on their podcast he wanted it to be over so he could start working again for whatever team he's on.

General manager Ryan Poles was aware of the difficult situation Fields was stuck in. Poles told the media at the NFL Scouting Combine in early March he desired to "do right" by Fields in a trade scenario. And they did just that.

They tried to trade him as soon as possible, and they did, sending him to Pittsburgh on March 16, a few days after free agency opened up. They also traded him to one of the four teams Fields preferred in the Steelers. The other three included the Falcons, Vikings and Raiders.

That set up Fields for a sufficiently free offseason to prepare for a pivotal season.

"Shoutout to Poles, we communicated to him through my agent, and I told him where I wanted to be and this was a place I wanted to be, so he honored that and I appreciate him for that and glad he was able to put me in a spot where I wanted to be at," Fields said.

Fields said it "wasn't really a shock" to learn the Bears were trading him. He got the sense they were planning on drafting a quarterback beforehand. The Bears selected Caleb Williams with the No. 1 pick in the 2024 NFL Draft, solidifying him as the team's starting quarterback.

He also mentioned the Steelers were a preferred destination before and after the Russell Wilson trade. Although, he thought the door was closed when they traded for Wilson. It wasn't until he learned from his agent that the Steelers were planning on trading Kenny Pickett he knew he would end up in Pittsburgh.

Now, Fields is in a position to compete for the starting spot, although it's well-documented that the Steelers plan to try Wilson first as the starter. However, Fields said he doesn't plan on sitting on the bench this season.

"I'm definitely competing. Russ knows that. We’re competing against each other every day. I definitely don’t have the mindset of me just sitting all year," Fields said.

Fields went through a difficult three years in Chicago. He played through two different head coaches and offensive coordinators. He also wasn't gifted with the most optimal rosters in his first two seasons. And last year's roster is nothing compared to what the Bears have this year.

That's no excuse for Fields' shortcomings. He needs to speed up his decision-making and processing speeds in the pocket. His accuracy can use some work, too. But Fields knows he's just scratching the surface of his NFL career.

"I know I am," Fields said when asked if he thinks he's still an ascending player. "I'm not the same quarterback I was last year. And I'm not the same quarterback even as I was yesterday. I'm gonna continue to get better each and every day.

"I'm nowhere near my ceiling."

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