NFL Draft

C.J. Stroud: Not Interested in Playing for Chicago, Bears Are Fields’ Team

The Chicago Bears hold the No. 1 pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, but Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud (scouting report) is not interested in being drafted first overall — not if the Bears are the team drafting him.

Speaking with the media from the NFL Combine in Indianapolis on Friday, Stroud expressed his disinterest in playing quarterback for Chicago. The 2022 second-team All-American feels that the Bears already have their quarterback — Justin Fields.

>>READ: C.J. Stroud Can Become NFL Franchise QB 

“I mean, no, I don’t want to go there (Chicago),” Stroud told reporters. “That’s his (Fields) team. I can do my thing. I can go build my legacy. He texted me yesterday morning. Me and him are brothers for life.”

Stroud and Fields were teammates at Ohio State in 2020, Fields’ final season with the Buckeyes. Stroud was his immediate successor throwing for 7,775 yards and 81 touchdowns passing in two seasons – a college career that’s landed him near the top of most 2023 NFL mock drafts.

>>READ: The 33rd Team’s 2023 Mock Draft 3.2

Stroud is a big fan of Fields’ game and greatly respects what the Bears’ QB accomplished last season — likely part of the reason he doesn’t see himself supplanting his former teammate.

“There are so many times when you get knocked down, but I feel like a true man’s character is when you get knocked down, you get up,” Stroud said. “And he’s got up every time, and he’s stepped up to the plate, and he hasn’t blamed anybody; he hasn’t pointed no fingers; and he hasn’t done anything. As a human, that just shows you what type of man he is and what type of family he comes from.”

Scouts sometimes have knocked Stroud for a perceived lack of mobility, perhaps Fields’ biggest strength. However, Stroud firmly rejects that narrative, offering up his game video as evidence.

“If you turn on the film and really watch what I do and you really look at film game to game, I have used my athleticism,” Stroud said. “Not just in the Georgia game, where I did it a lot, but I’ve done it in every other game.”

Stroud is the No. 3 ranked QB and No. 9 player overall on The 33rd Team’s 2023 NFL Draft Big Board. He is expected to participate in throwing drills on Saturday at the combine, offering him the opportunity to show off his talent to the NFL world.

>>READ: 2023 NFL Combine QB, WR Preview

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