The Denver Broncos passed on OSU quarterback Justin Fields in the 2021 NFL draft due to medical concerns about his epilepsy diagnosis.
Yahoo Sports’ Eric Edholm described his conversation with a Broncos insider held on the website’s podcast, You Pod To Win The Game. According to Eric, the source said, “It wasn’t the talent, we really liked the talent a lot. It was the medical. Look, the epilepsy…the concern about it was…the amount of risk that is there the day you draft him, versus what’s there 10 years down the line is the same. It never dissipates.”
A few weeks before the draft reports had emerged that Justin Fields was diagnosed with epilepsy, a neurological disease that causes seizures. The player had subsequently stated that he was diagnosed with epilepsy in ninth grade, but that it had so far had no impact on his football career.
“I mean, it’s pretty simple for me to manage it,” Fields said. “I just have to take three to four pills a night, every night. It’s nothing crazy. It’s a thing that’s been there for the past seven or eight years, so I’m used to it, and I’m just going to continue to deal with it and continue to play the game that I love.”
While Fields and OSU said that his epilepsy is controlled, a few NFL teams, notably the Denver Broncos, believed that the concern was substantial.
Ultimately Fields was acquired by the Chicago Bears, with him becoming the 11th overall pick of the 2021 NFL draft. Trey Lance being selected at No. 3 overall by the San Francisco 49ers, the Atlanta Falcons opting for tight end Kyle Pitts, and then the Denver Broncos and Carolina Panthers passing on Fields, had led him to land up with the Bears.
The draft was held in Cleveland from April 29 to May 1, 202.