Fields faced criticism last week, when ESPN analyst Dan Orlovsky suggested that NFL teams believed he had a bad work ethic. Orlovsky has since admitted that he should have phrased his comments better, but to some, the damage is already done.
Day, who coached Fields for two seasons at Ohio State, had a strong response to Orlovsky’s remarks.
“The whole idea that he doesn’t have a very good work ethic?” Day told Peter King. “I mean, to me, that’s crazy. He got done with the Clemson game [the loss in the college football playoffs in the 2019 season] and he came back and all he did was work to get back to that game. And when those other guys are opting out, what’s he do? He petitions to have a season. He put together this petition that the Big Ten athletes all signed saying that they want to play, but they want to play safely and that they don’t accept canceling the season. It was all led by Justin Fields. Where was everybody else? Where were the guys who were opting out then? You know, you don’t love the game if you’re doing something like that. This kid loves the game.
“I heard something about the last one to come in, first one to leave. First off, the scouts weren’t in our building all year. Last one in? Every morning, at least every morning we could be in the building, early, he’s in with [assistant AD for football sports performance] Mickey Marotti. The guys who were self-motivated and could do things on their own, those were the ones who made it. He was unbelievable. He changed his diet, he got stronger. He did better than most.”
That’s a strong comment from Day, though one line in particular is facing criticism.
This one: Where was everybody else? Where were the guys who were opting out then? You know, you don’t love the game if you’re doing something like that. This kid loves the game.
Separate from Fields, this is a pretty gross quote from Ryan Day taking a shot at players who opted out last season. pic.twitter.com/rbrCe3lISC
— Seth Walder (@SethWalder) April 5, 2021
Criticizing Orlovsky and NFL teams for their thoughts on Fields is extremely fair. However, Day should not be criticizing players for opting out of a season in the middle of a pandemic.