LAKE FOREST – Despite everything that’s happened when it comes to his holdout and contract situation, the Bears’ top linebacker still sticks by his teammates.
In fact, Roquan Smith was sidelined for the Bears’ first preseason game against the Chiefs despite not practicing two days ago after being removed from the PUP list.
That will be the case once again as the Bears head to Seattle for their second preseason contest.
Coach Matt Eberflus confirmed that Smith will accompany the team on the trip and will be on the sidelines as the team faces the Seahawks at 7 p.m. This comes as the linebacker continues to miss practice, which could lead to discipline from the team as he is expected to practice when healthy.
This all stems from his desire to extend his contract as he enters the fifth-year option of his rookie contract that will pay him $9.73 million through the 2022 season now.
“It’s where it’s at right now and we’re day-to-day,” Eberflus said when asked for an update on the Smith situation. “Is he in the building? Yes. Is he engaged? Yes. The other thing I would say is when he practices – I won’t say when it will be – when he does, he will make himself available to the media, that’s what I understand.”
A lot of talk about the Bears locally and nationally centers around the linebacker, who some could argue is the team’s best player currently on the roster. Monday provided another chapter in the drama after the NFL Management Council sent a memo to teams warning them that a person named Omni Saint, who is not an NFLPA-certified agent, was contacting teams about a trade. possible for Smith.
The memo was a way to warn teams not to engage in interference with a player under contract, which the NFL has been cracking down on in recent years.
Having these stories surrounding the team could be a distraction for Eberflus’ team as they prepare for the season, but the first-year coach denies that is the case.
“I see that the boys are focused. I see them being ready, like I said, focused on Seattle, focused on our first road trip together and connected that way,” Eberflus said.
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