Justin Fields Is the Face Of Reebok's Return to the NFL

In an exclusive interview, the Chicago Bears quarterback discusses the partnership, paving his own way, lifting up his community and more.

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As Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields heads into his third NFL season, the spotlight on him is brighter than ever before. After an electric sophomore campaign that saw him flash his athleticism seemingly every week while running for 1,143 yards (less than a hundred shy of Lamar Jackson’s NFL QB single-season rushing yard record of 1,206) and an offseason in which the team found a true number one wide receiver in DJ Moore as well as bolstering its offensive line in free agency, there’s great hope that Fields will continue to develop into the star the Bears envisioned him to be when they selected him 11th overall in the 2021 NFL Draft.

The Bears front office and Windy City fans alike have high expectations of Fields. He’s expected to continue his development as a passer (he only threw for more than 190 yards twice last year, and has yet to crack the 300-yard mark as a professional) and help the Bears improve on their 3-14 record last season. However, Fields, reached via videoconference from Bears training camp in July displayed a preternaturally calm and confident demeanor that belied the fact he’s only 24 years old. This combination of quiet confidence and vast potential has Bears fans excited for the 2023-24 campaign, and also resonated with Reebok — so much so that they’ve tapped Fields to lead their return to team sports.

Reebok has a rich history in team sports, of course, especially football: they produced the NFL’s on-field and jerseys from 2001 to 2001 and had athletes like Emmitt Smith and Peyton Manning on their roster. You’d also be remiss to forget about the office linebacker, Terry Tate. More recently, Reebok was represented by JJ Watt, but following Watt’s retirement after the 2022 season they had no NFL presence. Now, Fields is set to reintroduce the brand to the gridiron and spearhead their reintroduction to the world of team sports as well.

“I wanted to take my own path … I saw how dedicated [Reebok was] in wanting to be great, and it was inspiring, so I signed on,” Fields said. If there’s one thing that can be said about the Georgia native and Ohio State alum, it’s that he’s never afraid to lead the charge — no matter if it’s with the Bears (who open their season against the division-rival Green Bay Packers on September 10) or as the newly-minted face of Reebok team sports.

How are you feeling? Being the face of Reebok’s return to the gridiron is a pretty big deal.

I’m excited, man. Reebok has so much history across so many sports, and they’ve had so many amazing athletes on their roster in the past — Peyton Manning, Emmett Smith, Allen Iverson, Shaq — so it’s truly an honor to be in this position as the frontrunner of their reintroduction to team sports.

How did the partnership come together?

I’ll take it back a little bit. Most guys will sign with Nike, adidas or Jordan Brand coming out of college, but when I declared for the draft I decided I didn’t want to. I felt like that was what everyone else was doing, and I wanted to take my own path. I didn’t sign any athletic brand endorsement deal during my rookie season, but Reebok and I had mutual interest because we both take risks and do things our own way. We started talking organically, then they put together an official presentation for me. I saw how dedicated they were in wanting to be great, and it was inspiring, so I signed on.

What was your history with the brand before you signed on? Did you draw any inspiration from some of those athletes you mentioned earlier?

Me being a quarterback, I’ve always really admired Peyton Manning, of course. Reebok was the official jersey sponsor of the NFL when I was growing up as well so I’ve got fond memories of that too. It’s really a full-circle moment: my family and I would watch games and see those jerseys, and now I’m representing that brand. Outside of football, AI and Shaq just had so much influence and impact on sport culture and pop culture too.

Were you rocking Reebok pretty heavily at the time? You’re from Georgia, so I’d have to assume you had that Falcons Michael Vick jersey.

Definitely had a Vick jersey, and a few other Falcons jerseys. That was my team growing up. Shoe-wise, it was mostly Iversons for me: the Question and the Answer IV, specifically. I’ve got a lot of love for the Classic Leather as well, it’s nice and clean.

“I want to inspire the younger generation to rock with Reebok, and it feels good to be the only guy in the NFL who’s doing that as of now.”

Do you feel like you’ve been passed the torch and are carrying the legacy guys like Shaq, AI and Peyton helped establish at the brand?

In a way, but I also think I’m making my own path with what I can do both on and off the field. I want to inspire the younger generation to rock with Reebok, and it feels good to be the only guy in the NFL who’s doing that as of now. I think we’ll be able to create new shoes, new cleats and get some new swagger going.

Athlete-brand partnerships have changed a lot since Reebok was last in the NFL. Back then, pretty much every brand would give an athlete a signature performance shoe and that would be it. Now, more of those partnerships, like yours, have a lifestyle aspect to them as well. Why is it so important for a partnership to enrich you both on and off the field?

Because the era we’re living in now is so different. People want to see what you’re doing off the field just as much as they want to see what you’re doing on it. I try to bring a certain swag and aura to both parts of my life, so working with Reebok fits perfectly. They’ve got so many options for off the field that fit with me, and I can bring them that notoriety on the field as well.

Do you see any similarities between leading a brand and leading a football team?

The main one I see is the responsibility to come up with new ideas and new concepts. On the brand front, that means you always want to innovate and find ways to bridge the gap between sports and fashion, while on the football field when you’re leading an offense you want to come up with new plays and concepts to conquer all the different defenses the other team is going to throw at you.

So what’s the Justin Fields Reebok signature shoe going to look like? What will inspire it?

Definitely a variety of things [laughs]. I like to dabble in different parts of the fashion world, so I’ll combine more chill and low-key items with pieces that are more out there and on the edge. Like I’d mentioned before, I’m not scared to pave my own lane, so I’m just looking forward to keeping these really open conversations going with the brand and seeing what we can come up with. It’s going to be a ton of fun, and I know it’ll be unique too.

What do you think the most unique thing about this partnership is?

That I’m the first one on the roster. You don’t see that much across the NFL, as most brands endorse several different players. Of course, Reebok is going to be expanding its athlete roster in the future, but being the first one is awesome.

“I love helping out the community wherever I am.”

Reebok is also working with you to support your youth camp in Chicago. Tell us more about why Chicago is such a special place, why lifting up kids from there is so important to you and how Reebok is going to assist with that.

We had the second annual Justin Fields Camp recently, and Reebok sponsored a bunch of kids so they could come to the camp for free, as well as giving them shorts and T-shirts. I love helping out the community wherever I am, and Chicago’s a big city that has some violent areas, so being able to get kids from those areas some clothes, chill with them, teach them about football and give them a chance to not worry about getting in trouble, running into something they have no business being a part of, was great. I’m looking forward to expanding it even further next year.

Last question: Chicago is such a great food city — what are you grubbin’ on during your cheat days?

Man, it’s hard to choose. There are so many good spots downtown, and a lot of Italian restaurants that I like to go to as well, or this dope fish taco spot by where I live. There are just so many options in Chicago, and I feel like I haven’t even been able to try half of the places that are on my list. I’m definitely going to some of the vets on the team for suggestions this year [laughs].

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