Bears place QB Justin Fields on reserve/COVID-19 list ahead of Week 18 game vs. Vikings

Justin Fields' rookie season might be finished.

The quarterback was placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list Thursday, the Bears announced.

Fields' first NFL season has included plenty of drama and exciting moments. He found himself at the center of a call for his insertion into the starting lineup early in the season, then took the field in place of an injured Andy Dalton in Week 2, clinging to a narrow victory over the Bengals. Fields has been in and out of the lineup due to injury and coaching decisions since -- forcing the Bears to start three different quarterbacks this season -- but has shown real-time improvement as the season has progressed, nearly leading the Bears to a comeback win over the Steelers on the national stage in Week 9 and posting his best passer rating of his career in a 17-9 loss to Minnesota in Week 15.

There isn't much of a question about Fields' standing as Chicago's future quarterback. Instead, patience will be required to provide Fields with more game reps and a chance to continue developing. That process likely will not include coach Matt Nagy, whose seat has been hot for some time and hasn't cooled off since the Bears were eliminated from playoff contention.

Fields did not play in Weeks 16 or 17 due to injury, with Nagy telling reporters the Bears would be smart and cautious with his return. The possibility of a Week 18 return is very much in jeopardy with Fields' placement on the reserve/COVID-19 list, which might end up being in his best long-term interest, anyway.

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