Justin Fields

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

The Bears traded Fields to the Steelers back in March

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When the Bears traded up to select Justin Fields with the No. 11 overall pick of the 2021 draft, the idea was that he would be the man to end decades of ineptitude at quarterback. Obviously, things didn’t work out that way.

In March the team traded Fields to the Steelers for a conditional sixth-round pick in 2025, then drafted Caleb Williams one month later.

Even though things didn’t work out the way Fields would’ve liked to start his career, there doesn’t appear to be any bad blood between him and the team. In fact, in Fields’ first media availability with the Steelers, he shared his appreciation for how GM Ryan Poles treated him on the way out.

Poles made it clear he wanted to “do right” by Fields as early as the NFL Combine back in February, saying he wanted to trade him as soon as possible, once the team made the decision to trade him. That’s exactly what Poles did by moving him in March, rather than waiting until the draft to see if a QB-needy team got desperate and offered a higher price. Poles also helped Fields land with a team where he would have the shot to compete for a starting job, rather than being locked into a backup role.

It’s good business on Poles’ part to do his best to make sure Fields didn’t leave Chicago with a bad taste in his mouth. Sure, Poles may have been able to get a better price if he ignored Fields’ wishlist. However, working with Fields helps Poles build a reputation as a GM who will take care of his players– even when they don’t fit in the team’s plans anymore. Of course in free agency, money and playing time are the biggest factors in any player’s decision, but if all things are equal and Poles is known as a player-friendly boss, it could tip the scales in the Bears’ favor.

Fields also took the high road when asked if he believed the Bears did everything they could to ensure his success in the league. He didn’t use the opportunity to throw coaches or teammates under the bus.

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

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