HomeSportsJustin Fields on Steelers' QB situation, Russell Wilson: 'I'm definitely in. ...

Justin Fields on Steelers’ QB situation, Russell Wilson: ‘I’m definitely in. Russian knows that’

When the Pittsburgh Steelers traded for Justin Fields in March, it was reported that the former Chicago Bears quarterback was joining the team in a clearly defined role: as Russell Wilson’s backup.

Since then, head coach Mike Tomlin has opened the door for a quarterback competition in which Fields could win the starting job. He has said several times since the trade that Wilson is in “pole position” but that Fields “will have a chance to compete.”

As for Fields, the league has begun with the start of Steelers offseason organized activities (OTAs) this week. Fields spoke about his mentality during a call with reporters at OTAs on Tuesday.

“I’m definitely in,” Fields said. “Russ knows that. We compete against each other every day. I definitely don’t have the mentality that I just have to sit there all year. I come every day and give everything I have – push him to be his best, and he pushes me every day to be my best.”

An open competition makes more sense than handing the keys to a 35-year-old Wilson who regressed significantly from his Pro Bowl form with the Seattle Seahawks in two seasons with the Denver Broncos. Because of his performance in Denver, the Broncos cut Wilson this offseason despite owing him $39 million in guaranteed money next season.

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Fields, meanwhile, fell short of the expectations that made him the 11th pick of the 2021 NFL Draft. The Bears moved on from Caleb Williams this offseason, and no team was willing to invest significant trade capital to acquire Fields or pick up the $25.6 million fifth-year option on his rookie contract. The Steelers acquired him for a conditional sixth-round pick and declined the fifth-year option.

Russell Wilson and Justin Fields were once enemies on the court and are now competing for the same job.  (Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

Russell Wilson and Justin Fields were once enemies on the court and are now competing for the same job. (Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

But Fields showed flashes in Chicago and is one of the best runners in the league at the position. Moreover, he is 25 years old. Absent a contract extension, the Steelers have this season to figure out what they have in Fields and whether he still has the upside that earned him a first-round pick. There’s no way to know if it’s worth signing him to a new contract if he doesn’t get a chance to play.

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Fields believes he has a lot more room to grow.

“I’m not the same quarterback I was last year,” Fields continued. “I’m not the same quarterback I was yesterday. I’m going to get better every day. … I think I have a lot more room to grow. I’m nowhere near my ceiling yet.”

He also said he wanted to be in Pittsburgh and thanked Bears general manager Ryan Poles for honoring his request to be traded to the Steelers.

“Shoutout to the Poles,” Fields said, according to ESPN’s Brooke Pryor. “We communicated with him through my agent, and I told him where I wanted to be and this was a place I wanted to be, so he honored that and I appreciate him for that and I’m glad he was able to put me in a place where I wanted to be there.”

Wilson and Fields each got reps with Steelers receivers on Tuesday.

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After practice, Wilson did not directly address Fields while speaking to reporters. He did say he “learned a lot” from his experience in Denver.

“I certainly learned a lot,” Wilson said. “I think internally you become better, stronger. You use your experiences, you use the challenges you’ve been through to be the best version of yourself.

“So I’m not blinking. And I’m looking forward to the challenge and the opportunity.”

However, the Steelers’ quarterback room remains one of the most compelling storylines of the NFL offseason.

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