Oct 24, 2021; Tampa, Florida, USA; Chicago Bears head coach Matt Nagy looks on against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the second half at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Bears coach Matt Nagy tests positive for COVID-19

Chicago Bears coach Matt Nagy announced Monday that he tested positive for COVID-19 amid a team outbreak.

It’s a breakthrough case for Nagy, who is fully vaccinated. He said he doesn’t have any symptoms, adding that he found out Monday morning from head trainer Andre Tucker.

NFL Network reported the team is now in enhanced mitigation protocols, which requires masks to be worn by everybody and daily testing, regardless of vaccination status.

Nagy will need to return two negative tests 24 hours apart in order to be able to return to Halas Hall and in time for Sunday’s game against the visiting San Francisco 49ers. He’s conducting meetings via Zoom. Special teams coordinator Chris Tabor will run team meetings in his absence.

The Bears (3-4) have four players on the reserve/COVID-19 list, including linebacker Caleb Johnson and right tackle Elijah Wilkinson. Those two players went on the list Sunday morning, hours ahead of kickoff in Tampa. Robert Quinn and Jimmy Graham were put on the list last week.

Running back Damien Williams was activated off the reserve/COVID list Saturday after missing one game. He played in the Bears’ 38-3 loss to the Buccaneers.

Receivers coach Mike Furrey missed the team’s Week 6 game but returned Sunday.

Nagy, 43, is 31-24 in three-plus seasons as Bears head coach.

–Field Level Media

Oct 3, 2021; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields (1) leaves the field after the game against the Detroit Lions at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Quinn Harris-USA TODAY Sports

‘This is Justin’s time’: Bears name rookie Fields as starting QB

Rookie Justin Fields will be the starting quarterback for the Chicago Bears — at least for the foreseeable future.

Just two days ago, coach Matt Nagy said Andy Dalton would return to the starting role when he had fully recovered from a knee injury. But Wednesday, Nagy said Dalton was cleared to return to practice but he’d be doing so as No. 2 on the depth chart.

Fields, who won his first NFL game on Sunday in a 24-14 victory over the Detroit Lions, has earned the starting job, Nagy said.

“This is Justin’s time, we’re so confident moving forward,” he said Wednesday.

Fields will start Sunday for the Bears (2-2) when they meet the Raiders (3-1) in Las Vegas.

“What needs to be understood (is) the plan and process we had going into this was important,” Nagy said. “When Andy got hurt with his knee, that sped the plan up. I have always said from the beginning, we’ll know and he’s done everything to show us he’s ready for this opportunity.”

Dalton injured his left knee in the second quarter of a Sept. 19 win over the Cincinnati Bengals.

Fields, the 11th overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, completed 11 of 17 passes for 209 yards with one interception against the Lions.

Fields, 22, has completed 48.1 percent of his passes for 347 yards, two picks and no touchdowns this season. He has rushed for 55 yards and one score.

Dalton, who turns 34 this month, has completed 73.5 percent of his throws for 262 yards with one TD and one pick.

–Field Level Media

Aug 21, 2021; Chicago, Illinois, USA;  Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields (1) looks to pass against the Buffalo Bills during the second half at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports

Justin Fields to get start in Bears’ preseason finale

Chicago rookie quarterback Justin Fields will get the start in the Bears’ final preseason game this weekend, coach Matt Nagy announced Tuesday.

Fields will get two quarters of work vs. the Tennessee Titans on Saturday.

Andy Dalton has been tabbed the Week 1 starter. Fields played behind Dalton in the team’s first two preseason games.

Fields threw for 142 yards and a touchdown and rushed for another in his first outing, then followed that with another 80 yards passing and 46 yards rushing last week vs. Buffalo.

Dalton went 11-for-17 with 146 yards and a TD pass against the Bills but had to endure Bears fans chanting Fields’ name.

“I really think it’s kind of disrespectful to Andy, them cheering my name out like that,” Fields told reporters Sunday. “Just cheer him on, you know? That’s not helping Andy play better, to cheer my name. That’s not doing none of that. My advice to them would be just cheer whoever’s on the field.”

The Bears open the season Sept. 12 on the road against the Los Angeles Rams.

–Field Level Media

Jul 29, 2021; Lake Forest, IL, USA; Chicago Bears quarterback Nick Foles (9) catches the ball during a Chicago Bears training camp session at Halas Hall. Mandatory Credit: Jon Durr-USA TODAY Sports

Bears’ Matt Nagy: Teams will have interest in Nick Foles

Not many Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks are third-stringers on NFL rosters. But that’s where QB Nick Foles happens to be on the Chicago Bears’ depth chart.

However, the 10-year veteran might not stay there for long, considering how much teams always seem to need a quarterback. One of those teams might be the Indianapolis Colts, whose starter — Carson Wentz — is out indefinitely after suffering a foot injury on Thursday at practice.

Bears coach Matt Nagy is someone who appreciates Foles’ value and wouldn’t be surprised if the Colts — or any other team — come calling for Foles.

“… You’re talking about a Super Bowl MVP and a guy that’s started a lot of games,” Nagy told reporters before practice on Saturday. “He’s had a really interesting career in so many ways that I just think that he deserves that.”

Nagy added that he and Foles have not talked about a potential trade since training camp started.

“I don’t talk to him about that; he doesn’t talk to me about it,” Nagy said. “We just don’t go there because, again, that’s out of our control. He’s worrying about doing everything he can to just be great for us, and that’s what I like about our relationship. He’s happy with where he’s at here and he’s in a good place.”

That place is currently behind starter Andy Dalton and first-round pick Justin Fields. In nine games — seven starts — for the Bears last season, Foles passed for 1,852 yards, 10 touchdowns and eight interceptions while splitting snaps with Mitchell Trubisky, who signed with the Buffalo Bills in the offseason.

The MVP of Super Bowl LII, Foles has played for five NFL teams, including two stints with the Philadelphia Eagles. He has played 67 regular-season games and has gone 28-27 in 55 starts.

Foles, 32, also appears to be reasonably affordable. His salary-cap charge for 2021 is $6.7 million.

Nagy values Foles’ experience and ability but knows snaps might be hard to find. The coach also respects Foles for how he has dealt with a challenging first week of training camp.

“I would say probably 95% of people in Nick’s situation would handle it completely opposite of the way he’s handled it, from the time that I brought him in and told him that he was going be the third-string quarterback,” Nagy said. “And I have to give so much credit to him because he accepted it. He understood it.”

The Colts signed veteran QB Brett Hundley on Saturday. But it remains to be seen if Foles will still be with the Bears before the 2021 NFL season kicks off.

–Field Level Media

Dec 20, 2020; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Chicago Bears head coach Matt Nagy looks on during the first quarter against the Minnesota Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Bears’ Matt Nagy to be virtual after high-risk close contact

Chicago Bears head coach Matt Nagy was deemed a high-risk close contact of a family member who tested positive for COVID-19 and will participate virtually when the team holds its rookie minicamp this weekend, NFL Network reported Thursday.

He is in the process of getting vaccinated, according to the report.

Nagy will run meetings — which already were virtual — via Zoom.

The 43-year-old Nagy enters his fourth season as Bears coach with a 28-20 record and two playoff appearances.

–Field Level Media

Jan 9, 2018; Lake Forest, IL, USA; Chicago Bears general manager Ryan Pace (L) and head coach Matt Nagy (R) pose for a picture during the press conference at Halas Hall. Mandatory Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

Bears ‘impressed’ with Matt Nagy, GM Ryan Pace

The Chicago Bears on Wednesday made it official that coach Matt Nagy and general manager Ryan Pace would return in 2021, noting that they were “impressed” with how the two kept the team together during a midseason six-game skid.

The Bears finished 8-8 but were bounced from the playoffs in last week’s wild-card loss to the New Orleans Saints.

“I was impressed with both of them this past season, especially during the six-game losing streak,” Bears chairman George McCaskey said Wednesday. “The fact that our players never gave up is a tribute to the players. It is also indicative of the type of players that Ryan acquires and to the players’ regard for Matt as their head coach.

“Have mistakes been made? Yes. But I think both Ryan and Matt are learning and growing in their roles,” McCaskey said. “The decisions we’re announcing today may not be the easiest or most popular but we believe they’re the best decisions for the Bears.”

Pace enters the final year of his contract and neither was given an extension.

“When we see improvements, contracts will take care of themselves,” Bears president Ted Phillips said.

That success will center on improving the quarterback situation, an issue McCaskey said he believes Nagy and Pace will correct in 2021.

“We need better production from the quarterback position to be successful,” McCaskey said.

The Bears drafted Mitchell Trubisky No. 2 overall in the 2017 draft but he hasn’t developed into a star quarterback.

Nagy and Pace came under scrutiny as the Bears slumped to the end of the 2020 season. Chicago started 5-1 but lost its next six games. A three-game winning streak followed, but the Bears were blown out by the Green Bay Packers in the regular-season finale and wound up sneaking into the postseason thanks to other results.

Nagy, 42, was selected as the NFL Coach of the Year after his first season on the job, when he led the 2018 Bears to a 12-4 mark. A pair of 8-8 seasons have followed. He has yet to win a playoff game in two appearances.

Pace, 43, took over the Bears front office in 2015. Chicago owns a 42-54 regular-season record and an 0-2 playoff mark during his tenure.

–Field Level Media