A day after mild concerns were raised by his sitting out of practice with a groin injury, Chicago Bears rookie quarterback Justin Fields is set to return to practice on Thursday. According to head coach Matt Nagy, so long as things go well in practice, Fields will also play in the team's preseason game on Saturday.
Nagy, though, indicated that Andy Dalton will remain the starter against the Bills. Dalton will play for at least the first quarter-and-a-half, Nagy said, before he is relieved by Fields. After Fields had an intriguing preseason debut during which he showed off exactly why the Bears traded up to nab him with the No. 11 overall pick, Nagy indicated that he wanted to see more of Dalton in the next contest, given that the presumptive starter only saw six snaps.
Dalton, for his part, understands the hype surrounding the Bears' exciting rookie, but has been emphatic about his status as the starter.
"I know who I am, I know who I was created to be, I know where my identity lies. Do I want the fans behind me and this team and all that kind of stuff? Yes. Do I want them behind Justin? Absolutely, I do," Dalton said, per NFL.com. "But that's not my focus. I can't focus on all that right now. Like I said before, Justin's gonna have his time, and Justin's gonna have a great career. But right now, it's my time and so my focus is being on the best player I can be for this team and do everything I can to help this team win."
At some point, the job is going to belong to Fields. The Bears have said that day will come when he is ready, and not for any other reason. If he continues to impress, that day may come sooner rather than later.
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