The six-win Bears have nothing but their pride to play for in Minnesota. But if there were anything to look forward to in an otherwise meaningless regular-season finale, it was the final rookie performance of their hopeful talisman quarterback. That possibility is now up in the air.
Justin Fields has been placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list, reports The Athletic’s Kevin Fishbain. Because it’s the Thursday before a Sunday afternoon matchup in terms of COVID-19 protocols, this potentially makes it unlikely Fields plays one last time in his rookie season. Of course, if Fields (who is vaccinated, according to Fields) is asymptomatic for 24 hours and tests negative twice in that same time frame, he can return as soon as Thursday’s positive test. As of this moment, there is no official word on Fields’ further status.
Fields last played against the Vikings the week of Christmas before eventually suffering an ankle injury that knocked him out of the Bears’ last two games. It’s undoubtedly been an up and down and topsy-turvy frustrating rookie season for the 22-year-old, but he still represents the Bears’ best hope of long-term relevance. Getting one last chance to see him play before Chicago cleans house (?) and starts the process of building around him better was to be a small treat for anyone who follows the Bears. Watching journeymen like Nick Foles and Andy Dalton continue an audition for another backup quarterback job is not.
The Bears will assuredly monitor Fields closely in the coming days. If he can’t go this Sunday, Dear Reader, I’m finding it difficult to see a reason to watch a lame-duck team. And I know many of you are in the same boat.