Ninety seconds into Sunday night’s postgame press conference at Lambeau Field, Justin Fields was thrown a slow curveball he wasn’t quite ready for as he continued to digest A 27-10 loss to the Chicago Bears at the Green Bay Packers.

Correspondent: Losing to this team, it stings more because of the rivalry, and you know how much Bears fans want to win this game?

Fields: yeah I mean the locker room hurts more than Bears fans. After all, they don’t put in any work. I see the guys in the locker room every day. I can see how much work they put in. So to just go out with such a disappointing loss is painful. Now we just have to answer.

It seemed harmless. Pretty harmless. Enough so that Fields didn’t get a single question about it. His postgame question-and-answer session continued with a query about what’s missing in the Bears’ passing game.

Fields was just trying to make the point that no fan could care more about the Bears winning than he does. Therefore, for a loss like Sunday night it stings even more after another defeat in one of football’s most legendary battles.

The second-year quarterback didn’t realize he had inadvertently kicked a wasp’s nest, upsetting a pack of long-suffering Bears fans who felt their quarterback /took/ to dig at them.

They went out with a bang. Fields was slammed on social media for having the audacity to call out fans. There has been a heated debate on sports radio about whether Fields deserves the kind of fame that he even casually throws at fans.

The roar grew louder. Fields felt the sting. In the meme-driven world of 2022, his comments were picked up and compiled into a series of social media posts that fueled — or maybe fabricated is a better verb — a mini-controversy.

Fields quoted a tweet from Barstool Sports that included a video of his comments and concluded that “Bears fans might not like this Justin Fields tweet.” As of Wednesday afternoon, the post had more than 1,100 retweets, 2,400 tweets with quotes and 26,200 likes.

Fields issued a lengthy apology and explanation during his regular weekly meeting at the Halas Hall podium on Wednesday.

“First of all, I was disappointed after the game,” he explained. “First of all, I didn’t want to talk to (reporters). I was in no mood to come and talk. … So I should have explained better what I meant by that.”

and?

“I meant what I’m saying about the work (that was put in) in terms of playing on Sunday and winning the game. I don’t know the fans. I don’t know what they do in their personal lives. I respect each of our fans. I’m glad we have fans. I would never disrespect anyone for what they do or like to do. And so it turned out.”

Let’s be real: Fields’ apology was as unnecessary as it was sincere. Those who reacted violently to his comments after the game should probably offer themselves a side of pasta and some grated parmesan on Taylor Street.

I asked Fields how he found out about the backlash. He smiled.

“I’ve been tagged in a bunch of things (on social media),” he said. “The fans definitely let me know, probably. Again, I didn’t mean for it to turn out that way.”

I also wondered how Fields is learning to deal with some of these unexpected irritations that will continue to arise given his role as the face of one of the NFL’s charter franchises.

In addition to learning the ins and outs of the defense, Fields is also responsible for becoming a smooth public speaker and responsible voice for the Bears.

“I talked to my father about it,” he said Wednesday. “And as long as I’m in this position, things like this will always come up. (It’s) just realizing that as long as I’m in this profession, it’s really never going away. So I just have to either be very clear in everything I say and really describe what I really mean, or just not say anything at all.”

Chicago has to hope Fields picks the former. A sputtering franchise can also afford to get boring.

Let’s not twist it. Fields has much bigger fish to fry, namely reawakening a dormant offense that has produced an NFL-worst 153 yards through two games. So the 190 seconds he spent Wednesday in damage control for his postgame comments was about 175 seconds too long.

Still, give him credit. At 23, his contrition was a display of grace and maturity, mixed with an acknowledgment that he’s still young and learning — at many stages of his QB1 career.

Fields’ place in Chicago will ultimately be determined by how he develops his pocket poise, how he processes what he sees from opposing defenses, and how many big plays and signature wins he produces. But he also understands that he has a great opportunity to win over an incredibly passionate sports city. And he doesn’t take it for granted.

For now, Fields said, he’s trying to find a balance between being honest and colorful without creating a fuss.

“Just testing the water,” Fields said. “I want to show you guys more personality. I don’t want to be a robot here. At the same time, I just have to be more descriptive with my words. … I’m trying to show my personality to the world and I’m trying to show my personality to you guys to show that I’m a real person. And, yes, I make mistakes.”

Some of them will be big mistakes on the field that change the game. Some will be annoyed by small missteps from this. All of them will push Fields to grow.

The deep excitement Fields felt after Sunday’s loss in Green Bay should be something Bears fans really appreciate. Of Fields’ nine losses as the Bears’ starting quarterback, he said something about Sunday’s “hit that’s different from all the losses last year.”

He knows how invested the Bears players are right now in working to help turn the fortunes of the franchise around. And if this work is not supported by results, it is a great shame. Especially against the Packers.

“I just hate to lose,” Fields said.

In that regard, the quarterback and Bears fans share similar emotions. Of course, the next step for Fields is to quickly improve to change those results. But he also shouldn’t be under siege or put on the defensive simply because he clumsily expressed his frustration 40 minutes after a rough defeat.

His apology on Wednesday was sincere and appreciated. There was no need either.

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https://www.readingeagle.com/2022/09/21/column-justin-fields-apologized-to-chicago-bears-fans-it-was-mature-and-sincere-but-also-unnecessary/

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