The gap in the NFL calendar between the deluge of free agency and the beginning of the draft leaves a void often filled with unhealthy intakes. The main confectionery course consumed haphazardly comes from anonymous sources and scouts. These takes can be unflattering to players, can come out of context and are sometimes made nefariously with an ulterior motive in mind.
The 2021 Exhibit A for the peril of listening to anonymous sources this time of year is Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields.
The future first-round pick was the center of controversy last week when former NFL QB-turned-analyst Dan Orlovsky suggested he’d been told some teams were concerned about Fields’ work ethic and desire to be great.
Since the comments were made on “The Pat McAfee Show,” they’ve been shot down from virtually every angle. OSU coach Ryan Day is the latest to chime in, telling Peter King of NBC Sports that the notion Fields lacks work ethic is laughable.
“The whole idea that he doesn’t have a very good work ethic?” Day told King. “I mean, to me, that’s crazy. He got done with the Clemson game [the loss in the college football playoffs in the 2019 season] and he came back and all he did was work to get back to that game. And when those other guys are opting out, what’s he do? He petitions to have a season. He put together this petition that the Big Ten athletes all signed saying that they want to play, but they want to play safely and that they don’t accept canceling the season. It was all led by Justin Fields. Where was everybody else? Where were the guys who were opting out then? You know, you don’t love the game if you’re doing something like that. This kid loves the game.
“I heard something about the last one to come in, first one to leave. First off, the scouts weren’t in our building all year. Last one in? Every morning, at least every morning we could be in the building, early, he’s in with [assistant AD for football sports performance] Mickey Marotti. The guys who were self-motivated and could do things on their own, those were the ones who made it. He was unbelievable. He changed his diet, he got stronger. He did better than most.”