Bears’ Justin Fields, Panthers’ Stephon Gilmore enter COVID protocol

Quarterback Justin Fields of the Chicago Bears and cornerback Stephon Gilmore of the Carolina Panthers were placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list Thursday in advance of their teams’ season finales this weekend.Both the Bears and Panthers have been eliminated from playoff contention in the NFC.Fields didn’t play in a Week 17 victory over the New York Giants because of an ankle injury, but coach Matt Nagy had said Wednesday that Fields would start this weekend when the Bears (6-10) face the Vikings (7-9) in Minnesota.The starting job Sunday will fall to veteran Andy Dalton if Fields isn’t released from the protocol before game time.Fields, the No. 11 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, is 2-8 as a starter. He’s completed just 58.9 percent of his pass attempts for 1,870 yards with seven touchdowns and 10 interceptions.