Roquan Smith returns to Bears observe; to play out ultimate 12 months of his contract

CHICAGO (CBS) — Nearly two weeks after demanding a commerce, and never training through the first three weeks of coaching camp, Bears linebacker Roquan Smith ended his “hold-in” on Saturday, and mentioned he plans to play out the ultimate 12 months of his rookie contract.

Smith is within the fifth and ultimate 12 months of his rookie contract, which can pay him $9.7 million this 12 months, and he plans to enter free company after the season.

“I’m betting on myself,” he mentioned. “Whatever happens, happens. And whatever it is I have to go through this season, I’ll do it chin up, chest out.”

A two-team second crew All-Pro, Smith is taken into account the Bears’ finest participant, and a possible constructing block for the rebuilding crew.

Head coach Matt Eberflus mentioned he is “super-excited” to have Smith again at observe. 

“I’m happy he’s back. I’m happy he’s excited to be back. I’m happy that he’s back in individual. I’m happy that he’s ramping up and getting ready to go. Certainly happy for that. You know, he’s one of our best players, so we’re excited about that,” he mentioned.

Smith took half in particular person drills on Saturday, however not crew drills. Eberflus mentioned he believes the crew has sufficient time to get Smith able to play in Week 1, once they open the season towards the 49ers at Soldier Field.

“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, and he’s doing good there, so now we’re just ramping him up to play football,” he mentioned. 

Smith demanded a commerce on Aug. 9, releasing a letter accusing normal supervisor Ryan Poles of negotiating in dangerous religion.

On Saturday, he mentioned he discovered the complete contract negotiation course of “very distasteful.”

It wasn’t what I anticipated, nor what I anticipated from the state of affairs,” he said. “I really feel like I’ve busted my ass so lengthy right here, and never being rewarded with one thing I assumed I rightfully deserved.”

Poles has said he was disappointed Smith demanded a trade, but has insisted he wants Smith to stay with the Bears long-term. He also has said contract negotiations with Smith were more complicated than usual because he doesn’t have an agent.

Smith said his focus now is on being playing the best football he can this year.

“I owe that to the fellows within the locker room, and to town, and all of the loyal followers,” he mentioned.

While Smith did not rule out returning to the Bears after this season, he mentioned he does not anticipate any additional contract affords from the Bears through the season.

Eberflus mentioned he is not involved that Smith can be enjoying sad or disgruntled together with his contract state of affairs.

“He’s been engaged. He’s been in the meetings. Thoroughly there, mentally there, asking questions in meetings, helping the younger players when he’s been out. He’s been doing all that. He’s been a pro that way for sure,” he mentioned.

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