Bears LB Roquan Smith sets eyes on new season, not on contract negotiation
September 1, 2022
Chicago Bears linebacker Roquan Smith insisted to focus on the upcoming season, not on his future after his contract ended. Smith refused to do more negotiations regarding his extension with Bears general manager Ryan Poles in near future.
The linebacker also insisted that making a deal to remain with the team is not his current priority. “No. I'm not focused on that right now,” Smith said. “My focus is on making this year the best year I can and then go from there. I don’t want to look forward too much to the future or anything like that.”
Smith was listed as the No. 8 overall pick in 2018 by the Bears before he signed with the team. Before his current contract ends, the former Georgia Bulldog is expected to get a new deal as his current contract will be expired after this season.
Smith missing his practice sessions
Smith chose to do a “hold in” when he started the training camp before he requested a trade. With “hold in”, the 25-year-old can attend meetings and watch the practice sessions without him participating in the sessions.
Smith sent his trade request after he felt dishonored following the "take-it-or-leave-it" contract offered by Poles three weeks ago. He then blamed the team for treating him unfairly. The next day, the Bears removed him from the physically unable to perform list and mentioned that they will fine him for missing the sessions.
Eventually, Smith ended the “hold in” and the team welcomed him back warmly when he decided to return to practice two weeks later. The Georgia native also mentioned that he did not need to pay the fine and wanted to just move on from the drama.
"We were super excited about that with him," head coach Matt Eberflus told reporters following Smith's return to practice.
"He did individual today. He's in a ramp-up phase to get back to action. All along he's been conditioning with the strength staff on the side. He's doing good there, so now we're just ramping him up to play football. There's a process to that and we're in that process right now."
Smith to prepare for the season
At the moment, Smith chose to prepare for and put his attention to his upcoming performance when the season starts on September 11.
“It feels amazing being out there with my guys," the 2017 Butkus Award winner said. "That’s who you do it for, the love of the game, the guys in this locker room, and everybody that supports me.”
“It feels good to just be out there playing the game that you love, done so much for me.”
Smith is probably the best player that the Bears have. He was one of the top high school recruits at the top 30 overall and 2nd ranked linebacker, he is one of the leaders on defense as well.
NFL Analyst Lance Zierlein described Smith as “an ascending linebacker prospect with elite athletic ability, plus intelligence and an ability to be an effective cover linebacker on passing downs.”
Zierlein also commented on Smith's physical appearance, 6-foot-1 and 236 pounds. “While he’s a little undersized, he does have the quickness and speed to keep himself from being mauled,” said the analyst.