Justin Fields with the bears
Photo credit: ESPN

The 'Toxic' Dynamics in the Bears' Quarterback Room in 2021

Published May 14, 2024 at 10:39
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Amid offseason changes, Chicago Bears GM Ryan Poles aimed to reshape the roster by adding seasoned talents such as Keenan Allen and D'Andre Swift before the draft. The team then selected former USC star Caleb Williams as the first overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft, marking him as the new cornerstone of the franchise.

This strategic overhaul followed the trade of quarterback Justin Fields to the Pittsburgh Steelers after a rollercoaster three-year stint in Chicago. However, a striking revelation about the team's 2021 season has surfaced, casting a shadow over Fields' time with the Bears.

Reported by Tyler Dunne of Go Long, the quarterback room in 2021 was characterized as 'toxic'. The team roster included veteran QBs Andy Dalton and Nick Foles, alongside newcomer Fields, chosen with the 11th overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. The setup seemed ideal—a rookie quarterback could benefit from the wisdom of seasoned players.

Contrary to expectations, the reality was far from harmonious. Dunne highlights a particularly telling incident: Foles attempted to mentor Fields, only to find the rookie disengaged. This disconnect led Foles to abandon his mentorship role, marking a deep rift between the two.


Such discord presents a troubling picture, especially as Fields was just beginning his NFL career. Although it's not uncommon for veteran players to feel threatened by younger counterparts, this did not appear to be the issue here.

In his rookie year, Fields started 10 games, completing 58.9% of his passes for 1,870 yards, along with seven touchdowns and 10 interceptions, leading to a 2-8 record as a starter. These statistics and the internal conflicts foreshadowed the challenges that would define Fields' tenure with the Bears.
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The 'Toxic' Dynamics in the Bears' Quarterback Room in 2021

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