Emma: After acknowledging criticism, Justin Fields can let his play do the talking for him


LAKE FOREST, Ill. (670 The Score) -- While countless athletes in the modern media landscape claim to block out external noise and criticism, Bears quarterback Justin Fields has a refreshing and genuine approach. He’s willing to acknowledge the narratives surrounding him, and he often addresses them head on.

On Wednesday, Fields went out of his way to speak with candor and confront a false perception about a recent comment he made. Following Chicago's 27-10 loss at Green Bay on Sunday night, Fields spoke of the importance of each game to his teammates in a way that was wrongly twisted against Bears fans.

Rather than letting the matter pass or claiming he didn't see the outcry on social media, Fields chose to address it.

“I respect every fan that we have,” Fields said Wednesday. “I'm glad that we have fans. I would never disrespect anybody on what they do or what they love to do. It came off like that. Some social media outlets, they quoted my quote and they got a big buzz out of it.”

Fields' approach was in stark contrast to former Bears quarterback Mitchell Trubisky, who once infamously said he was “trying to get some of these TVs in the building turned off” to shield his team of criticism. Now the Steelers’ starting quarterback, Trubisky deleted social media apps from his cell phone during the season, but he often seemed overwhelmed by the spotlight that came with his job.

The 23-year-old Fields recognizes that he's always under the microscope. He has lived it throughout his adult life, first as a prized recruit who elected to stay home at Georgia, then a year later when he chose to transfer to Ohio State and now as the quarterback whom the Bears believe can answer their decades-long struggles at the position.

Whether athletes choose to acknowledge or ignore the narratives that surround them, the best way to answer back is on the field. Winning solves everything, and that’s what Fields is tasked with doing.

“The emotional investment that you put in every day, it just sucks losing,” Fields said. “I’ve never liked losing. Even as a little kid, my dad used to play me in basketball in the backyard, I used to cry when I lost. I don’t like losing at all. It doesn’t sit right with me.”

Fields can change the early season perception of him by performing as the Bears believe he can. That starts with leading his team to a victory over the Texans this Sunday at Soldier Field. Coach Matt Eberflus has made it clear that the offense will feature greater balance after Fields attempted just 11 passes in the loss to the Packers, which means Fields will throw more.

On Sunday, Fields will face a Texans defense that runs the same type of cover-2 scheme that he encounters in practice nearly every day. While Houston has played hard for head coach Lovie Smith, this is a matchup Fields should be able to exploit and a day to showcase his talent.

After recognizing and responding to the outside perception of him, Fields has the chance to let his play do the talking. He knows winning cures all troubles.

Chris Emma covers the Bears, Chicago’s sports scene and more for 670TheScore.com. Follow him on Twitter @CEmma670.

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