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Justin Fields says he's ready to compete for Steelers QB spot, wasn't shocked by trade

The Chicago Bears held the No. 1 pick in the NFL Draft each of the past two offseasons. In 2023, Justin Fields knew where he stood with the Bears when they traded down and drafted an offensive tackle. This year, things were different.

The Bears kept the top overall selection in 2024, using it on USC quarterback Caleb Williams. To clear the runway for Williams, the Bears shipped Fields to the Pittsburgh Steelers in March.

Speaking to Pittsburgh media on Tuesday for the first time since the trade, Fields said based on what he took away from his exit interview with the Bears at season's end, he wasn't blindsided by being dealt -- nor by being in Italy, just ready to sit down for dinner, when news of the trade finally reached him.

"It wasn't really a shock," Fields told reporters, per The Athletic. "I knew what was going to happen beforehand."

Fields praised the Bears for how they handled the trade and tried to put a bow on a somewhat inglorious end to his time in Chicago.

"There (were) a lot of ups and downs, but all in all, I appreciate every relationship that I built, all my teammates," Fields said, via "They know that (I have) nothing but love for the city, for the fans and for my old teammates and coaches."

Fields said Pittsburgh was his preferred destination this offseason, and he let Bears general manager Ryan Poles of that preference. But that door looked closed when the Steelers signed Russell Wilson and still had former first-rounder Kenny Pickett on the roster. After Pickett was traded to the Eagles, Fields' opportunity arose once more.

The fourth-year QB said he was just happy to be "in a spot where I wanted to be," even if it means he must compete for a job this coming season. Wilson is the presumed starter, and there even has been chatter about using Fields on kickoff returns due to the play's new rules.

But Fields isn't just letting fate take hold. He's trying to wrest the starting job away from Wilson.

"I'm definitely competing," Fields said on Tuesday. "I think Russ knows that. We're competing against each other every day. ... Helps me get better, us pushing each other.

"I definitely don't have the mindset of sitting all year. I'm coming in every day, giving it all I got. Pushing him to be his best, and he's pushing me to be my best each and every day."

So far, Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin said he likes what he's seen from his QB duo, especially in the leadership department.

"They're professionals, and so I'm excited about that, but I'm not surprised by it," Tomlin said on Tuesday, per "There's an expectation there. Both guys have been franchise-like guys if you will. They've gotten out of their cars in the morning and worn the responsibility of being that guy for a franchise, and so there's residual benefit from that and so I'm excited about us receiving it."

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