From rooting for the Falcons as a kid to overcoming adversity, Bears quarterback Justin Fields discussed a variety of topics with reporters Wednesday at Halas Hall. Here are five things we learned:
(1) Fields was a Falcons fan while growing up in Kennesaw, Ga.
The Bears quarterback revealed that his father had Falcons season tickets and they attended several games together. Fields' favorite players were quarterback Matt Ryan and receiver Julio Jones.
Fields isn't certain how many relatives and friends will be on hand Sunday when the Bears play the Falcons in Atlanta, but his mother and father are expected to attend the game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
"Of course it's exciting for sure," Fields said. "[But] my goal really is just to go 1-0 this week and win the game down there."
(2) Fields clarified that when he said his legs were sore after last Sunday's game against the Lions, it wasn't due to any hits he took.
"It's just the running," he said. "My legs just felt heavy after the game. The guys on the strength staff said that my load has been pretty high, so just been doing a little bit of tapering back this week in practice."
Fields rushed for 147 yards versus the Lions a week after running for 178 yards against the Dolphins. The 178 in one game and the 325 in a two-game span are both the most by a quarterback in NFL history.
With such a heavy workload in games, Fields will do less running in practice.
"I get that conditioning, extra work during the game, and then recover during the week and get my body ready to go on Sunday," he said.
"[I'm] just making sure I'm getting as much treatment as I can during the week, doing whatever I can, maybe tapering back. The quarterbacks will run a gasser or two during practice, so I probably won't do that today just to save my legs for the game this upcoming Sunday."
(3) Fields has consistently been able to follow a bad play with a good one, a "next play" mentality he learned early in life.
"I've had it since I was a little kid," he said. "I remember playing T-ball at six years old and after striking out I would go to the dugout and cry.
"Just those little lessons right there and then. You can't do anything about the past. You've got to move on and you can only control what's going on in the now. Just getting to that point, not really worrying about what's happened in the past and stuff like that."
An example of Fields immediately overcoming adversity came in the fourth quarter against the Lions. Three plays after throwing an interception that was returned for a touchdown, he raced 67 yards for a TD that enabled the Bears to retake a 30-24 lead.
(4) Both of the aforementioned plays involved Lions cornerback Jeff Okudah, Fields' close friend and former Ohio State teammate.
Okudah initially got the best of Fields, intercepting his screen pass intended for tight end Cole Kmet and returning it 20 yards for a TD that tied the game 24-24. But Fields followed by darting up the middle and outrunning Okudah to the end zone to put the Bears back on top.
Asked about their time together at Ohio State in 2019, Fields said: "We were best friends. When it was my sophomore year in college and his junior year, we lived in the same apartment building, so literally every day after practice I'm going to his room or he's coming to my room and hoping on a game, this and that."
Fields enjoyed facing his former teammate at Soldier Field.
"It was cool playing against him," Fields said. "During the game, I think we both like to stay locked in, so we didn't have much conversation. We talked to each other before the game and of course after the game. He's a great player, great athlete and a great person. It was tough throwing that pick-six to him, but he deserved it, just how hard he works, for sure."
(5) Fields understands why an increasing number of NFL players have recently been advocating for the league to replace artificial turf fields with grass.
"I definitely get their point of view," Fields said. "But me personally, I've been playing on turf my whole life. I feel faster on turf. But it doesn't really matter to me. But I do understand the injuries, cleats getting caught up in turf, stuff like that.
"With the vast majority of players and guys wanting to play on grass, I'm fine playing on grass too. But turf doesn't bother me."
The Bears practiced among the flurries at Halas Hall Wednesday afternoon as they get ready for Sunday's matchup with the Falcons in Atlanta.