Chicago Bears head coach Matt Nagy told reporters Wednesday that rookie Justin Fields will start at quarterback Sunday against the Cleveland Browns, with Nick Foles as the team's No. 2 quarterback.
The announcement suggests that long-time Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton - injured this past Sunday against his former team - is not healthy enough to play this week, as Nagy has described Dalton's status as "week to week" and insisted that Dalton will continue to be the Bears' starter "when healthy."
Dalton underwent an MRI Monday on his injured knee. NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reported that the results confirmed a bone bruise.
The Bears replaced Dalton with Fields after Dalton planted awkwardly on his knee at the end of a second-quarter run.
Dalton returned for one series, but the Bears announced late in the first half that Dalton was questionable to return to the game with the knee injury. Late in the third quarter, Dalton was downgraded to doubtful.
He did not play in the second half of the Bears' 20-17 win. He had led the Bears to a touchdown on their opening drive of the game.
"First of all, let's find out how bad Andy's hurt. If (Fields) comes in and plays well - and they win the football game - more than likely he will definitely start the following week," Terry Bradshaw said during FOX NFL's halftime show.
The Bengals' starting QB from 2011 to 2019 trails only Ken Anderson among Cincinnati's all-time leaders in passing yardage.
Dalton agreed to terms on a one-year deal - reportedly worth $10 million with the chance to earn another $3 million in incentives - with the Bears in March. The Bears made it clear throughout the offseason that Dalton would be their QB1 when the season started despite selecting Fields in the draft.
Dalton's deal reunited him with Bears offensive coordinator Bill Lazor, the Bengals' offensive coordinator in 2017 and 2018 who also served as former head coach Marvin Lewis' quarterbacks coach during the 2016 season.
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