ESPN NFL analyst Dan Orlovsky has admitted that he regrets how he framed his comments about Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields.
Last week, the former NFL quarterback turned ESPN analyst shared what he had heard about Fields from some teams around the league.
“One, I have heard that he is a last-guy-in, first-guy-out type of quarterback. Like, not the maniacal work ethic. I’ve even heard it compared to Justin Herbert, where it was like, dude, when Justin Herbert showed up, he was like a psychopath when it came to working and get ready for the draft. Or even at school, like, ‘Give me more, I want to work non-stop.’ And I’ve heard that there are issues with Justin Fields’ work ethic.
The second thing is … Where is his desire to go be a great quarterback? I think that there’s a desire to be a big-time athlete, from what is expressed to me, but where is his desire to be a great quarterback? And to be great, you gotta be willing to find the things that you are not good at and just freaking grind on them,” he said on The Pat McAfee Show.
Orlovsky was widely criticized for sharing these comments. ESPN college football analyst Kirk Herbstreit blasted his colleague for sharing that information.
“Absolutely RIDICULOUS. Even if YOU aren’t saying it… to pass that along from “people in the know” is reckless and absurd!! Embarrassing!!” said the college football analyst.
Orlovsky has since spoken to NBC Sports’ Peter King, admitting that he made a mistake.
From his column:
Orlovsky told me Saturday that people from a couple of teams did question Fields’ work ethic, but he regrets not having more “clarity and specificity” in his comments. In other words, he should have said something like, This is not what I know first-hand, but in talking to people I know in the league, two teams questioned Justin Fields’ work ethic, and that could be a concern. It’s important that Orlovsky be free to pass along information he finds credible, but it’s equally important to put that information in context.
Orlovsky added that he’s spoken with Fields personally.
“Justin didn’t have to take my phone call,” Orlovsky said. “He could have said, Screw that guy. I told him exactly what happened, said I wasn’t good enough in that moment, and that’s on me. He was like, I get it. It’s okay. I watch, and I know you’re someone who’s had my back. I appreciate you calling me. I felt like he was really mature, and I appreciated him hearing me out.”
Fields, who led the charge to have a college football season in 2020 and played through an injury in the College Football Playoff, is expected to be a top 10 pick in the NFL Draft later this month.