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Justin Fields will start Chicago Bears' preseason finale, Andy Dalton remains Week 1 starter

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Chicago Bears head coach Matt Nagy told reporters Tuesday morning that long-time Cincinnati Bengals starting quarterback Andy Dalton will not play in the team's final preseason game in advance of his start in Week 1 of the regular season.

Nagy added that rookie quarterback and former Ohio State Buckeyes standout Justin Fields will start the preseason game and play about two quarters of it.

Last week, Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield came to the defense of Dalton by suggesting on Instagram that story headlines with Dalton's "right now it's my time" quote are "typical clickbait BS reporting ... to try and stir the pot."

Dalton was asked about Chicago Bears' fans clamoring for Fields to start Week 1 for the Bears.

"You can't focus on that. If you focus on that, that's gonna beat you down," Dalton told reporters. "So I know who I am, I know who I was created to be, I know where my identity lies. And so do I want the fans behind me and this team? Yes. Do I want them behind Justin? Absolutely, I do. But that's not my focus. I can't focus on all that right now. Justin's gonna have his time and Justin's gonna have a great career, but right now it's my time and so my focus is on being the best player I can be for this team and doing everything I can to help this team win."

Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields (1) plays against the Buffalo Bills during an NFL preseason football game in Chicago, Saturday, Aug. 21, 2021.
Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields (1) plays against the Buffalo Bills during an NFL preseason football game in Chicago, Saturday, Aug. 21, 2021.

Fields has impressed during training camp but missed one day of practice last week with a sore groin. He returned Thursday to practice and is expected to play in the Bears' preseason game Saturday against the Buffalo Bills.

Dalton agreed to terms on a one-year deal - worth $10 million with the chance to earn another $3 million in incentives, per multiple reports - with the Bears in March. The Bears made it clear with a tweet a short time later that Dalton would be their QB1.

The Bears are scheduled to face the Bengals during Week 2 of the 2021 season - on Sept. 19 in Chicago. Dalton and the Dallas Cowboys routed the Bengals, 30-7, last December.

Dalton's deal reunited him with Bears offensive coordinator Bill Lazor, the Bengals' offensive coordinator during the 2017 and 2018 seasons who also served as former head coach Marvin Lewis' quarterbacks coach during the 2016 season.

The Bengals' starting QB from 2011 to 2019 trails only Ken Anderson among Cincinnati's all-time leaders in passing yardage.

This article originally appeared on Cincinnati Enquirer: Chicago Bears: Justin Fields to start preseason finale