Ryan Day: Justin Fields' Health, Toughness, Work Ethic Have Never Been an Issue

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistApril 21, 2021

Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields throws during an NFL Pro Day at Ohio State University Tuesday, March 30, 2021 in Columbus, Ohio. (AP Photo/Paul Vernon)
Paul Vernon/Associated Press

Ohio State coach Ryan Day once again came to the defense of Buckeyes quarterback Justin Fields ahead of the 2021 NFL draft:

Ryan Day @ryandaytime

Justin’s health, toughness and work ethic have never been an issue and I am incredibly proud of his professionalism and the character he displays on and off the field. The fact that he never missed a game at Ohio State speaks volumes about how he takes care of himself.

This comes after Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero of NFL Network reported Fields has epilepsy, a neurological disorder that can cause seizures. A source told Rapoport and Pelissero that Fields was diagnosed as a youth and does not have seizures if he takes his medicine. Rapoport and Pelissero said the condition has not affected his football career to this point.

NFL teams reportedly learned he had epilepsy during the predraft process, and medical teams have already discussed treatment plans.

Bleacher Report's Scouting Department lists Fields as the No. 2 overall player in the class behind only fellow quarterback Trevor Lawrence.

Fields has showcased his skill set over his past two years at Ohio State, totaling 63 passing touchdowns with only nine interceptions in 22 games. He also added 867 rushing yards and 15 touchdowns in this stretch.

Despite his obvious talent, his draft stock has seemingly dropped amid off-field question marks. There was a report about Fields' lack of work ethic, something Day called "a little reckless," per Peter King of NBC Sports.

"The whole idea that he doesn't have a very good work ethic? I mean, to me, that's crazy," Day said.

The coach clarified that Fields was often in the building early to improve his game despite the report he was the "last one in."

In March, Day offered even more praise for the quarterback who led his team to the national title game, per Adam Rittenberg of ESPN:

"Whatever they teach in terms of a scheme, he's going to pick that up very, very quickly. And he's very, very competitive. So when you combine the talent, the size, the arm strength, his competitiveness, his toughness, his intelligence, it kind of checks all the boxes. If you were trying to design a quarterback, to me, Justin fits that prototype."

Lawrence is expected to go No. 1 overall followed by Zach Wilson at No. 2. The San Francisco 49ers are also likely to pick a quarterback, potentially choosing between Fields, Mac Jones and Trey Lance.

While NFL teams will make their own decisions in the draft, Day's opinion of Fields is clear.


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