LAKE FOREST, Ailing. — Chicago Bears linebacker Roquan Smith ended his hold-in on Saturday and took part in observe for the primary time throughout coaching camp.
Smith, 25, stated he plans to play out the ultimate 12 months of his rookie contract, which is ready to pay him $9.7 million on his fifth-year choice, and that negotiations are “over proper now.”
“I believed it was very distasteful, to say the least,” Smith stated of contract talks between himself and the Bears. “Wasn’t what I anticipated, nor … what I anticipated from the scenario, however I am grateful for the followers, all of the loyal followers and everybody, the gamers as effectively within the locker room and the town of Chicago that stood behind me all through this course of. It means loads to myself.
“However now, I am simply shifting my focus to the season and extra so simply centered on being the perfect teammate I might be to these guys within the locker room.”
Smith demanded a commerce on Aug. 9 in a written assertion after accusing the Bears of not negotiating in good religion over a contract extension. The previous first-round decide, who represented himself all through negotiations, beforehand stated that he had been making an attempt to work out a deal since April.
“I believe it was simply extra so not coming to an settlement once I really feel like I’ve busted my ass so lengthy right here and never being rewarded with one thing I believed was rightfully deserved,” Smith stated. “In a way it is like, hey, you bust your ass, you could get rewarded in a way. However hey, that is that. I am transferring previous it now and I am centered on the season and going on the market and having fun with the time with my guys as a result of that is who I really care about.”
Smith declined to specify an quantity or the precise quantity he was seeking to be paid on his subsequent deal however claimed that the Bears put de-escalators of their presents. The linebacker stated there aren’t any extra presents on the desk and would not anticipate that there will probably be throughout the season, thus his resolution to return to observe and start preparations for Chicago’s Week 1 opener versus San Francisco.
The Bears held a non-padded observe on Saturday two days after their 27-11 preseason win at Seattle. Smith went via stretching and almost all particular person drills with Chicago’s linebackers. He didn’t take part within the crew portion of observe and is in a ramp-up interval, in accordance with Matt Eberflus.
The Bears coach stated he doesn’t think about Smith to be disgruntled over how contract talks performed out.
“No. In no way,” Eberflus stated. “He is been engaged. He is been within the conferences, completely there, mentally there. You realize, asking questions in conferences, serving to the youthful gamers when he is been out. So he is been doing all that. So he is been a professional that manner for certain.”
After reporting to coaching camp on time with the expectation that he wouldn’t observe till he obtained a brand new deal, Smith was instantly positioned on the bodily unable to carry out (PUP) checklist with an undisclosed damage. Smith says he has not been fined by the Bears for the practices he skipped after he was faraway from the PUP checklist upon passing a bodily, which got here someday after his commerce request.
Final week, the NFL’s administration council despatched a memo to all 32 groups stating that Saint Omni, a non-NFLPA-certified agent, had been contacting groups on behalf of Smith, which is prohibited by Article 48 of the NFL’s collective bargaining settlement.
Sources advised ESPN that the Bears didn’t grant Smith permission to hunt a commerce.
“I’ve a crew of advisers and Saint is somebody I do know, I belief and has my finest curiosity at coronary heart,” Smith stated.
Smith has represented himself with out an NFLPA licensed agent because the 2020 season. He defended his resolution on Saturday to undergo negotiations with out exterior illustration.
“No, I do not remorse not having an agent all through this course of,” Smith stated. “I believe that is only a bunch of excuses when folks say that. Occasions are altering and I really feel like gamers wish to be on the desk to have full transparency to know what’s really occurring, what’s being stated, as a result of lots of people can say plenty of various things however once you’re there your self, you see it with your individual eyes, you understand for a truth what is going on on.”
Requested whether or not he nonetheless has a want to be traded, Smith famous that he has since shifted his focus towards the 2022 season in Chicago after his commerce request was declined. His “full intention is to play this season and no matter occurs, occurs.”
“I’ve a contract to meet and I am simply going to go on the market and be the perfect teammate I might be, finest man within the locker room I might be to these guys and that is my focus and, hey, I’ll do it the identical manner I’ve all the time achieved it: 100 miles an hour and will not let up,” Smith stated.