March 5, 1999 (24)
Justin Fields is an American football quarterback for the Chicago Bears of the National Football League (NFL). His collegiate career at Ohio State University was distinguished by two Graham–George Offensive Player of the Year awards and a notable appearance in the 2021 College Football Playoff National Championship. Drafted by the Bears in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft, Fields has since set the single-game regular-season record for quarterback rushing yards and is one of only three NFL quarterbacks to rush for 1,000 yards in a season.
Fields’ tenure at the University of Georgia in 2018 was marked by a backup role to Jake Fromm, but he still managed to make a significant impact on the field. His debut against Austin Peay showcased his dual-threat capabilities, and his performances against Tennessee and UMass highlighted his potential as a versatile quarterback. Despite a promising start, Fields transferred to Ohio State after his freshman year, seeking and receiving a waiver for immediate eligibility due to mitigating circumstances.
At Ohio State, Fields’ impact was immediate and profound. His first season saw him leading the Buckeyes to a Big Ten Championship and a spot in the College Football Playoff. His stellar performance earned him third place in the Heisman Trophy running, Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year, and first-team all-conference honors. Despite a tough loss in the 2019 Fiesta Bowl, Fields’ stats were impressive, with over 3,000 passing yards and more than 40 passing touchdowns. The following season, amidst the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, Fields was a vocal advocate for playing the season. His leadership on and off the field continued to shine as he led Ohio State to another undefeated regular season and a memorable victory over Clemson in the College Football Playoff, where he played through injury in what was described as a “legendary” performance.
Fields’ rookie season in the NFL was a mix of highs and lows. He made his debut with the Bears in the 2021 season opener and won his first career start against the Detroit Lions. Despite facing challenges, including a significant number of sacks and turnovers, Fields demonstrated resilience and the ability to make explosive plays, both in the air and on the ground. His second season further showcased his rushing abilities, setting an NFL record and joining the elite ranks of quarterbacks with over 1,000 rushing yards in a season. However, the season was also marred by injuries and a league-worst team record.
The 2023 season began with challenges for Fields and the Bears, with losses in their first three games. Despite suffering a head injury, Fields continued to play and set a franchise record for completion in a half against the Denver Broncos. His first 300-yard passing game and a subsequent victory against the Washington Commanders highlighted his growth as a quarterback. However, the season’s struggles persisted, with Fields experiencing pressure and injuries that impacted his performance and the team’s record.