Country Roads have led Mountaineer alum Tony Fields II back to West Virginia. This time, it’s with the Cleveland Browns.
The third-year linebacker is with his team at The Greenbrier Resort in White Sulphur Springs, as training camp around the NFL begins to open. The squad, which was awarded extra practice time for playing in this year’s Pro Football Hall of Fame Game on Aug. 3, chose to get its season going away from its Berea, Ohio, headquarters and instead head towards tranquility along the West Virginia border.
“It’s been pretty cool,” Fields said about returning to the state. “It’s like going down memory lane. I’ve taken walks around the Greenbrier, and it reminds me of my apartment complex I had in Morgantown with all the hills and trees.”
What’s cooler is Fields says he and his team have been well-received at America’s Resort since arriving last Saturday. He’s even getting the “Welcome Home” treatment by a lot of the locals.
“There’s been people at the Greenbrier say, ‘Hey, Tony!’ and they are WVU fans,” Fields said with a chuckle. “I just appreciate all the support.”
Originally taken as the No. 153 overall selection by Cleveland in the 2021 NFL Draft, Fields has been through a little bit of everything during his first two seasons as a Brown. He played just 10 games as a rookie while battling through early injuries but went on to play in all 17 last fall, including seven starts.
Fields’ breakout game as a professional came in last season’s Week 13 matchup against the Texans, when the 6-foot, 222-pounder tallied four tackles, forced a fumble and registered a 16-yard interception return for a touchdown.
“I’m just playing the cards that are dealt to me,” Fields said. “Whatever I have to do, I’m going to do. If that means special teams, if that’s what the Browns need me for, I’m going to go out there and do it. When they call me out there for defense, I go out there and put in my utmost effort and make sure I do my best.”
Fields spent just one year in Morgantown – the ultra-unique COVID season of 2020. But in that short time, he learned to appreciate everything West Virginia had to offer.
His impact was immediate, too, recording 88 tackles in nine games to earn him Big 12 Defensive Newcomer of the Year honors.
Though brief in terms of length, Mountaineer pride has stuck with Fields. In fact, he’s been caught on camera singing “Take Me Home, Country Roads” before and after practices this week, and he’s taken it upon himself to teach his teammates a thing or two about the Mountain State.
“A lot of the guys asked me how the weather would be,” Fields explained. “They weren’t sure about the climate – and you never know with West Virginia, honestly. I told them that sometimes it’s humid, sometimes you’ll have a great day and then it’ll rain the next day. That’s what I experienced when I was here.”
Fields says the greatest thing about his time at West Virginia was the amount of quality relationships he was able to make and maintain. He last visited campus for the 2022 Gold-Blue Spring Game and says he talks to old teammates almost daily.
“I gained a lot of great relationships with some people up there (in Morgantown),” he said. “We talk all the time. It’s cool to have those Mountaineer brothers that I came in with.”
Entering his third NFL season with plenty of experience to fall back on, Fields hopes to make an even greater impact with the Browns and in life. Whether it’s on the field or at home, he knows he’s being counted on, which is something he doesn’t take lightly.
“I’m blessed, man,” Fields said. “I’m a father now; I’m a proud husband, and I’m out here doing what I love best and doing it to take care of my family.”