LAKE FOREST – Every member of the Bears who plays a significant role on the team will at some point be asked about their biggest rival.
That moment arrived on Wednesday afternoon at Halas Hall for Justin Fields.
“I’m pretty familiar with it,” said the starting quarterback when asked about his awareness of the franchise’s rivalry with the Packers.
Fields will likely get more of an idea of what it’s like over the coming days as the Bears face Green Bay for the first time in his rookie season this Sunday at Soldier Field. It’s the 203rd meeting between the teams but the first to feature the first round quarterback, adding some intrigue to the storied rivalry.
The good news is that this isn’t the first major football rivalry he’s been involved in.
Fields took part in the 2019 Ohio State-Michigan game in Ann Arbor, throwing for 302 yards and four touchdowns without an interception in a 56-27 victory. The quarterback didn’t get the chance to try and extend the Buckeyes’ winning streak in the series to nine after a COVID outbreak led to the cancellation of the 2020 contest.
“Probably beating them,” said Fields when asked about the most enjoyable, memorable moment of taking part in the Michigan rivalry. “Just putting in all that work throughout the offseason and just working towards that game, from workouts to doing extra stuff just to prepare for that game. Actually playing and winning was the best part.”
In fact, it was the pregame that might have been the most exciting for Fields when he was in hostile territory at Michigan Stadium.
“Trash talk before the games, the warm-ups. Fans talking trash and stuff like that. So I always enjoy that, hearing what they say, hearing the nonsense that comes out of their mouths,” said Fields. “That always gives me a good laugh before the game. Just the competition that goes with it, just the excitement.”
Friendlier crowds will await the quarterback on Sunday for his first chapter of the rivalry, but the opposing quarterback has hardly been a friend to the Bears through the years. Aaron Rodgers is 20-5 for the Packers against his rival since he began starting for Green Bay in 2008, with a knack for delivering a heartbreaking loss to the Bears on a few occasions.
It wasn’t that past that Fields mentioned first when asked about the quarterback on Wednesday but rather saluted him for the rhythm to which he leads the Packers’ offense. He’ll get to see that first hand when Rodgers goes under center for Green Bay at Soldier Field.
“I’m excited. Of course, he’s a Hall of Fame quarterback, he’s a great quarterback,” said Fields when asked about facing a Rodgers-led team for the first time. “He’s been playing since as long as I can remember, so I know it’s going to be a good match-up between him and our defense; Our defense has been playing well,”
“I’m excited to see him play.”
Bears’ fans are saying the same thing about Fields as he starts his own story against the Packers on Sunday.