Bears coach Matt Eberflus announced the team’s four captains for the upcoming season, which starts Sunday against the 49ers: quarterback Justin Fields, linebacker Roquan Smith, left guard Cody Whitehair and defensive end Robert Quinn.
“It’s a function of leadership,” Eberflus said. “The first rule of leadership is leading yourself… and those guys have done a good job of that.
“That says a lot about those guys and what their peers think of them.”
The team held a vote among players this week for the four permanent captains, and Eberflus will rotate in one additional player per week. He said running back David Montgomery will be the fifth captain this week.
For Fields, the selection continues to cement his standing within the organization. As a rookie, he spent the offseason on second string and felt awkward trying to be a leader with veterans Andy Dalton and Nick Foles on the team.
When the new staff arrived, it was clear immediately that Fields’ stature would be elevated. The team brought him in to speak at the introductory press conference for Eberflus and general manager Ryan Poles.
Smith earned a captain spot after sitting out the first 15 practices and two preseason games amid a contract standoff with the team. Eberflus said he agreed with the players picking him as a captain because “he has been A-1” since returning and has been excellent on the practice field and in the locker room.