LAKE FOREST, Ill. (670 The Score) -- Before heading off to have his separated left shoulder examined late Sunday afternoon, Bears quarterback Justin Fields addressed his team inside the visiting locker room at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.
Fields wanted to apologize for his role in the Bears’ 27-24 loss to the Falcons. It was a gesture that left his teammates surprised.
“I play for those guys in the locker room,” Fields said Wednesday. “I see how much work they put in each and every day. Having them as my teammates, having the leaders we have on this team be there for everybody and lead like they do, I think it’s a big example of how our team is, how we’re built and what our culture is.”
Fields was 14-of-21 for 153 yards, one touchdown and an interception, which came on the Bears’ final offensive play and allowed the Falcons to seal their victory. At the time of that miscue, Fields was playing through a separated left shoulder, which he injured a few plays earlier.
Bears safety Eddie Jackson stepped in during Fields’ message to the team, reminding him that the result of the game is a group effort and never on one player. Bears players appreciated Fields' apology, even as they didn’t necessarily agree with it.
“For such a young guy, that’s such a big responsibility to do,” Bears linebacker Nicholas Morrow said. “I got mad respect for him. But it’s not on him. It’s everybody. We all played the game. It’s not one play. It’s not one person. It’s all of us.
"That’s a good leadership quality to take that type of responsibility and accountability. But at the same time, it’s 11 men on the field at a time. We all got to take responsibility.”
The Bears (3-8) are riding a four-game losing skid despite the continued ascension of Fields, the No. 11 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. Chicago has showcased offensive progress with the 23-year-old Fields leading the way, but the team has struggled since dealing linebacker Roquan Smith (to the Ravens) and pass rusher Robert Quinn (to the Eagles) prior to the trade deadline.
The Bears had allowed a combined 115 points in the three games prior to their loss Sunday, one in which the defense held the Falcons to 280 yards of offense.
“It just shows the type of player he is,” Bears cornerback Kindle Vildor said of Fields. “The accountability that he holds for himself.
“He knows that this is his team, and he wants to put his best foot on the field each and every single Sunday.”
Fields’ health status is uncertain for Sunday as the Bears (3-8) visit the Jets (6-4) on Sunday at MetLife Stadium. He was listed as a limited participant in practice Wednesday as the team held a walk-through.
Despite dealing with pain in his injured left shoulder, Fields hopes to play Sunday.
“I just feel like if I can play and that I’m not furthering the risk of injury and I can do what I need to do to be able to protect myself, I think that’ll be good enough for me to play,” Fields said.
Chris Emma covers the Bears, Chicago’s sports scene and more for 670TheScore.com. Follow him on Twitter @CEmma670.