Justin Fields might be a rookie, but he’s a veteran when it comes to being in the spotlight.
From the time Fields was named the starting quarterback as a junior at Harrison High School in Georgia, he has dealt with attention and scrutiny. So becoming a first-round draft pick for the quarterback-starved Chicago Bears?
“I’m made for this. I’m built for this. It’s nothing new to me,” Fields said Friday prior to his first practice in a Bears uniform.
Granted, this is the NFL and the spotlight will only grow brighter. But it hasn’t seemed to bother Fields to this point.
“Just like you said, I’ve been kind of in the spotlight since high school,” he said.
For Fields, the cameras have always been rolling the microphones are always hot. He faced Trevor Lawrence in a highly publicized Elite 11 battle before his senior year of high school and was named the MVP. The documentary series QB 1: Beyond The Lights followed him his entire senior year and was accompanied by nationally televised games on ESPN. On that show, you saw strangers constantly asking Fields about his recruitment while not-so-subtly encouraging him to commit to hometown Georgia.
Fields did commit to Georgia, which only increased the hype. And that’s why his transfer to Ohio State a year later could not have been easy. But all he did in Columbus was perform at an extremely high level, winning two Big Ten Championships and playing in three College Football Playoff games.
Now he joins the Bears, and the expectation is that he’ll become a franchise quarterback for a team that has never really had one. But as Fields indicated less than 24 hours after being drafted:
"I don't think there's pressure on me because I expect myself to be a franchise quarterback.”
Like he said, he’s made for this.