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Bears Rumors: Roquan Smith Won't Participate in Training Camp over Contract Situation

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVJuly 25, 2022

Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Roquan Smith is one of the bright spots on a lackluster Chicago Bears roster, but the linebacker reportedly will not be present when veterans arrive at training camp Tuesday.

NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reported Smith, who is under contract through just the 2022 season, will not participate in training camp "because of his contract situation. Smith has not yet received an offer he would remotely consider, thus he'll wait."

Smith is arguably one of the most underrated players in the league.

In fact, Hall of Famer Ray Lewis is the only other player than Smith in the last 23 years to post 300 or more tackles and 30 or more tackles for loss during a two-season span. Still, Smith is yet to be named to a Pro Bowl or All-Pro team during his first four seasons.

Chicago selected the Georgia product with the No. 8 overall pick of the 2018 NFL draft, and he has lived up to expectations.

He tallied 163 tackles, 12 tackles for loss, three sacks, three passes defended and one interception, which he returned for a touchdown, last season as the anchor of the Bears defense. He also appeared in every game of the campaign for the third time in his career.

Smith is just 25 years old and figures to be among the league's best linebackers for years to come, but it remains to be seen if all those years will be in a Bears uniform.

The Bears are in something of a transition period with first-year general manager Ryan Poles and first-year head coach Matt Eberflus, and the team already traded cornerstone defender Khalil Mack this offseason in a move that appeared to signal a rebuild.

Smith is young enough to remain a focal point of the defense for years to come even if it takes some time for the franchise to build a contender, but the contract situation is looming as the 2022 season approaches.

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