With OTAs wrapping up this week, Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields has a new deal.
“Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields has signed a brand deal with Reebok,” tweeted Chicago sports reporter Daniel Greenberg on June 9.
Fans may have noticed Fields donning Reebok’s iconic sneaker, The Pump, during a team-building exercise at the United Center on June 8. What perhaps seemed like a quirky fashion statement given Reebok’s current standing in sneaker culture now makes perfect sense.
It all makes sense now https://t.co/5T6Y04eZvY pic.twitter.com/cngnv9YqWk
— Josh Buckhalter (@JoshGBuck) June 9, 2023
Fields’ game-worn cleats from when he broke the single-game rushing record by a quarterback (178 yards vs MIA in Wk 9) were placed in the Hall of Fame last year. But those cleats were made by Adidas. Now, if he is fortunate enough to break another record and get another pair into The Hall, those will be Reebok.
The Pump was originally introduced in 1989 to be direct competition for Nike’s ‘Air Jordan’, and gained popularity thanks to then-Boston Celtics rookie, Dee Brown.
Brown wore the shoes and even incorporate the signature feature into his routine.
“I could see in the corner of my eye that they’re like, ‘Oh, what? Oh, look what he’s doing…is different,'” Brown said, per Josh Weinfuss of ESPN in a 2019 story detailing the shoe’s timeline. “And the fans got excited about it and the players.”
Dee Brown knows a thing or two about the dunk contest 👀☘️ pic.twitter.com/JHZGucSgLn
— Boston Celtics (@celtics) March 7, 2021
Brown won the contest. And while the shoe became more of a fond memory than a constant presence in sports or fashion, the rest is history.
Perhaps Fields can help bring the brand back to prominence with a breakout campaign.
Justin Fields Not Worried About Contract
This is a pivotal season for Fields who will be eligible to receive a contract extension next offseason but has an incomplete resume to this point. He set the NFL world on fire last season with his rushing prowess, racking up over 1100 yards on the ground.
He set the franchise record for rushing yards by a quarterback.
Fields also became the sixth quarterback in NFL history to start at least 15 games yet throw from 2250 yards or fewer in NFL history, per Stathead, while the Bears had the worst record in the NFL last season. But, let Fields tell it, his only focus is the team stat that counts the most and not his looming contract situation.
“I’m not worried about contracts,” Fields said on May 23 via the team when asked about his contract status. “I’m worried about wins.”
It's just 2️⃣ easy pic.twitter.com/HuwnnjO9RS
— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) June 1, 2023
Chicago has the 2024 season – and presumably 2025 via his fifth-year option – to decide.
All signs coming out of OTAs have been positive, though they rarely go the other direction this time of the year. Still, Reports of Fields’ command of the offense, connection with new top option D.J. Moore, and bodies returning to practice have all been encouraging.
Far more so than the concerns about the lack of talent on the roster and doubts about Fields’ ability to play at all that were rampant last season.
Justin Fields Meets Michael Vick
Fields met with former Atlanta Falcons and Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick on June 9, and the Bears shared pics of the encounter. Vick, the No. 1 overall pick and a four-time Pro Bowler, won Comeback Player of the Year in 2010, one year after making his return from a two-year suspension and prison sentence for dog fighting.
Talkin' shop 🤝 pic.twitter.com/NUgqLo6beA
— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) June 9, 2023
In his return with Philadelphia, Vick transitioned into more of a threat as a passer from the pocket, leading to gains in his air yards, completion percentage, touchdown rate, and a decrease in his interception rate.
A similar transition from Fields early in his career could be monumental for him and the Bears.
The most damning part about that stat on Fields’ passing numbers is only three of the six passers to do it have been since 1978, including Fields, and all three were Bears.