Former Buffalo Bills quarterback Nathan Peterman moved up the depth chart with the Chicago Bears to start the season as No. 2 behind Justin Fields, but just two weeks later he is left looking for a new team.
The Bears released Peterman on September 20, part of a wild day that included the abrupt departure of an assistant coach and some public criticism of the coaching staff by Fields. Peterman’s release drew some scrutiny, as it left the Bears with a thin quarterback room.
Nathan Peterman’s Ride in Chicago Comes to an End
Peterman signed with the Bears in 2022, starting on the practice squad and moving his way up to the active roster and playing after Fields suffered an injury. Peterman ended up appearing in three games last season, including one start. He completed 14 of 25 passes for 139 yards with one touchdown and one interception.
Peterman re-signed with the Bears in March, earning the No. 2 spot to start the season.
Craig Smith of AtoZ Sports called Peterman’s release a “head-scratching” move, noting that the Bears are already thin at quarterback behind Fields.
“Peterman’s release is a bit of a surprise, given that the Bears have only undrafted free agent rookie QB Tyson Bagent from Shepherd University on the active roster – who the team apparently thinks very highly of – in addition to Fields,” Smith wrote. “The Bears could still choose to sign Peterman to the practice squad and keep him in town, which would keep his services while freeing up a 53-man roster spot.”
Peterman came into the NFL in 2017, a fifth-round pick of the Buffalo Bills. He earned a controversial start that season as Bills head coach Sean McDermott benched starter Tyrod Taylor for a game against the Los Angeles Chargers. The move drew criticism and backfired on McDermott when Peterman threw five interceptions in the first half, when he was benched in favor of Taylor.
Peterman rebounded, and later that season made a number of key plays in a win over the Indianapolis Colts in a driving blizzard before he left with an injury. The Bills would go 9-7 that season, breaking their 17-year playoff drought and earning a Wild Card spot.
Wild Day in Chicago
Peterman’s release came amid a bizarre day in Chicago, with defensive coordinator Alan Williams resigning from his position a week after he took a personal leave from the team. As Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune reported, Williams released a brief statement saying he was “taking a step back to take care of my health and my family.”
Fields also offered what appeared to be some public criticism of his coaches. When asked by reporters why he believed he was overthinking things, Fields pointed the finger at coaches for putting too much on his plate.
“You know, could be coaching, I think,” Fields said Wednesday. “They’re doing their job when they’re giving me what to look at, but at the end of the day, I can’t be thinking about that when the game comes. I prepare myself throughout the week, and then when the game comes, it’s time to play free at that point. Just thinking less and playing more.”