Chicago Bears Quarterback Fields Could Miss Week 18

Few passers have taken the beating that Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields has this season, and it apparently has people in his organization concerned. At his Monday press conference, head coach Matt Eberflus would not commit to starting Fields in Week 18, citing the best interests of the team and the young quarterback's health. Fields has absorbed an NFL-high 55 sacks this season and has ran the ball 160 times, so his play style is unusually punishing at the quarterback position. He was briefly evaluated by medical personnel during Week 17's 41-10 loss to the Detroit Lions. Given the Bears are 3-13, it makes sense not to risk the health of their young passer in Sunday's game against the Minnesota Vikings.

There is, however, the matter of a certain record chase. Fields is 64 yards away from breaking Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson's position record of 1204 rushing yards in a season. Eberflus acknowledged Fields' pursuit of the mark would factor into the team's ultimate decision but insisted he'd put the best interests of the team first.

Those best interests are difficult to discern. The Bears could arguably benefit from the joy of making history in an otherwise disappointing season, but it may be foolhardy to risk their quarterback's health on a largely meaningless statistical achievement. Winning on Sunday could also drastically alter the Bears' fortunes in the NFL Draft: they currently project to finish with the second-worst record in the league, which would deliver them the second-overall pick. A big day from Fields could prove just as costly as an injury if it drops the Bears a few spots in the draft.

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