The Bear Circus will be traveling.
Linebacker Roquan Smith, who continued to be “held back” Tuesday by simply watching practice from the sideline, will be on the Bears’ charter flight to Seattle, head coach Matt Eberflus said Tuesday.
He won’t play in Thursday night’s preseason game, of course. Smith has yet to practice all of training camp as he continues an increasingly focused negotiation for a new contract worth about $100 million over five years.
Eberflus would not say whether the Bears are fining Smith for the missed practices. He has missed three since the team removed him from the roster on Wednesday because he could not physically perform. He said he feels good about his relationship with the linebacker.
“Really, I have nothing,” he said. “All I can say is that it is where it is now. And we are everyday. Is he in the building? Yes. Is he engaged? Yes. …
“I would just say this with all players: You’re always working on relationships. I know I say it a lot. But it’s so important, with Roquan and every other player. It’s important to keep relationships and communication open and at the table, and that’s what we’re trying to do every day with all of our players.”
Smith requested a trade a week ago and has since publicly flayed an already stalled negotiation. On Monday, the NFL’s governing body sent an email to all 32 teams warning them not to talk to Saint Omni, a man who had contacted clubs saying he represented Smith. Omni is not an NFLPA certified agent and cannot negotiate with the Bears or other teams. Even if he was, he couldn’t talk to the other 31 NFL teams without written permission from the Bears. The bears have given this permission.