Justin Fields Out Versus Raiders, DII Rookie To Start

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Tyson Bagent will become just the fourth Division II quarterback to start in the NFL in the past 20 years as he steps up to replace an injured Justin Fields for the Bears. Fields was ruled out of the game against the Raiders with a dislocated thumb. “He’s improving. The mobility’s getting better, the swelling went down, the grip strength is better. It’s trending in the right direction. He’ll be week to week and we’ll know more Monday. The grip strength is really where it is, the functionality of it. If we see more of that — and it’s obviously trending in the right direction, that’s what it’s done this week. That’s where it’s looking good,” head coach Matt Eberflus told reporters.

Bagent played four years at Division II Shepherd University in West Virginia and was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Bears this year. A former Harlon Hill Trophy winner, Bagent joins a rare class of Division II players at the pro level. He’s just the fourth DII QB to start an NFL in the past 20 years and the first since 2010. John Kitna (Central Washington) and Todd Bourman (St. Cloud State) were the last DII QBs to start an NFL game.

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Bears Looking For Rookie Miracle

The Bears are 1-5 on the season and currently hold the first two picks in the 2024 draft according to the latest projections. It has been another terrible season for the team as they continue coming up short in an increasingly futile search for answers. If they do end up with two valuable draft picks, most experts expect the Justin Fields era to end in favor of Caleb Williams or Drake Maye.

Meanwhile, the Raiders are 3-3 and also starting a backup QB. Jimmy Garoppolo is out and will be replaced by veteran Bryan Hoyer. Hoyer picked up the win last week after coming in for Jimmy G and gets the start over rookie Aiden O’Connell. However, both teams are absolutely battered when it comes to their injury reports. This makes the game the first true “injury bowl” of the season. Furthermore, a win for Vegas will help them cement their place as the second-best team in the AFC West behind the runaway Chiefs. Luckily for them, the third-place Chargers have to face the Chiefs at Arrowhead this weekend.

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