Wednesday, December 7, 2022

Roquan Smith focused on upcoming season with Bears, not contract situation: ‘That’s what means the most to me’

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Chicago Bears linebacker Roquan Smith was holding out during training camp and preseason and even requested a trade, but now he says all the drama surrounding his contract situation is behind him. Smith and the Bears believe the two parties can mend any issues in order to have the best season possible.

Smith spoke recently about the contract issues, via the Chicago Sun-Times: “I’m not focused on that, if I’m being completely honest. 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.”

Hs says his priority is to help the Bears have a solid season.

“I’m just focused on having the best year I can with my teammates and playing the game I love. That’s what means the most to me,” he said.

Smith is ready to play any position and bring his all to wherever he lines up. “I flourish in any defense. It don’t matter. Just line me up and tell me a play, and I’m there,” he said. 

When asked if he was thinking about everything that occurred during training camp and the preseason, Smith said, “It’s already in the back of my mind. It just came to the front when you just mentioned it.”

Chicago general manager Ryan Poles has the same expectations for Smith as Smith has for himself.

“He’s a good player. That’s never changed. I have faith that he’s going to have a good year. … You have disagreements and then you’ve gotta come back together and be teammates. That’s what I expect,” Poles said, via The Athletic.

The team has a new head coach — Matt Eberflaus — whose style could make for more opportunity for Smith.

“It’s definitely sweet,” Smith said of the 4-3 defense. “It allows you to play in space more. And I feel like that’s one of my biggest attributes: playing in space, vision.”

Smith will get his chance to show the contract issues are behind him when their regular season kicks off on Sept. 11 at home against the San Francisco 49ers.

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