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NFL officials need to start treating Justin Fields like a quarterback

Mobile quarterbacks have always gotten short shrift from NFL officials when it comes to unmercenary roughness and roughing the passer penalties. When it’s assumed that you’re more of a runner than a thrower, referees will lay off the calls they give to more pocket-based quarterbacks. Cam Newton had to deal with that throughout his estimable career, and Justin Fields of the Chicago Bears has inherited Newton’s unfortunate legacy.

ESPN’s Teddy Bruschi brought this up with much frustration on Sunday morning, and you know it’s bad when a former linebacker is sticking up for a quarterback.

It happened again in Sunday’s game between the Bears and the Green Bay Packers. Fields was sliding to protect himself, but that didn’t stop safety Jonathan Owens from causing Fields’ head to hit the turf with this tackle.

You could argue that Fields slid late, but you tell me how many roughing the passer and unnecessary roughness penalties there have been this season against defenders who even come close to harming the quarterback.

Most likely, Owens will be fined by the league for what the officials missed, which is the nature of the beast these days. But in a larger sense, the NFL needs to start treating Justin Fields like a quarterback when he’s acting like one.

Story originally appeared on Touchdown Wire