Chicago Bears linebacker Roquan Smith still isn't practicing following a trade request, but he is reportedly no longer on the physically unable to perform list.
Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reported Wednesday that the Bears removed Smith from the list even though he is "not expected to begin practicing" as he continues his hold-in during the team's training camp.
This comes after the linebacker requested a trade, writing, in part, "unfortunately, the new front office regime doesn't value me here. They've refused to negotiate in good faith, every step of this journey has been 'take it or leave it.' The deal sent to me is one that would be bad for myself, and for the entire LB market if I signed it."
He said he didn't have much of a choice but to ask to be moved elsewhere:
General manager Ryan Poles spoke to reporters about the situation Tuesday and said, "Right now, my intentions are to make sure Roquan is on this team. At the end of the day, we have to do what's best for the team."
The decision to remove him from the PUP list means the team could enforce discipline for sitting out practices:
Adam Hoge @AdamHoge
So no more "injury." By taking Roquan Smith off PUP, <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Bears?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Bears</a> are declaring him healthy enough to practice. <a href="https://twitter.com/RapSheet?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@RapSheet</a> reports Smith "is not expected to begin practicing, regardless." This opens up the possibility of team discipline if he doesn't practice, but that's not required.
This is a major challenge for Poles and head coach Matt Eberflus, who are both in their first seasons of what could be a rebuild in the Windy City. The roster is far from loaded with talent, but Smith is a consistent performer who figured to be the face of the defense in 2022.
The Bears selected the Georgia product with the No. 8 overall pick of the 2018 NFL draft, and he finished with more than 100 tackles in each of his first four seasons.
Smith posted 163 tackles, 12 tackles for loss, three sacks, three passes defended and one interception, which he returned for a touchdown, last season.
He is just 25 years old and could be someone the Bears build around for the foreseeable future, but that may not be the case with so much uncertainty surrounding his situation.