Chicago Bears training camp notes: Even after clearing physical, Roquan Smith sits out practice

‘I expect all the healthy guys to practice,’ head coach Matt Eberflus said.

Chicago Bears linebacker Roquan Smith speaks during a news conference in October 2021.

LAKE FOREST – Bears linebacker Roquan Smith made an appearance at the practice field Thursday morning at Halas Hall, but continues to sit out practice.

Smith’s appearance on the sidelines comes one day after the team removed the star linebacker from the physically unable to perform list, and two days after Smith publicly requested a trade.

Bears head coach Matt Eberflus announced Thursday that Smith had passed a physical with team trainers. Smith has been deemed healthy by the team. In theory, the Bears could now fine Smith for sitting out practice, although it’s unclear if the team is doing so.

“That discipline really comes from the front office,” Eberflus said. “I’m not going to get into the details of what discipline is there, but we will certainly work through that when the time comes.”

Eberflus indicated that he expected Smith to return to practice Thursday.

“I expect all the healthy guys to practice,” he said.

The Bears did not make general manager Ryan Poles available for comment Thursday. The Bears did not make Smith available to the media either, citing that he did not practice and the team typically doesn’t make players available unless they participate. Smith has not spoken publicly since April.

Asked if he expected Smith to answer questions from the media, Eberflus said, “That’s up to the P.R. department and the rest of the Chicago Bears for them to decide that.”

If the Bears do decide to fine Smith, the collective bargaining agreement between the NFL and the NFL Players Association appears to give the team the ability to fine Smith up to $40,000 per day if he is absent.

According to the CBA “any unexcused late reporting to or absence from preseason training camp by a player in the fifth League Year of his contract (the option year) shall subject the player to a fine of $40,000 per day.”

The CBA doesn’t specifically state if that includes a player who is present but who refuses to participate in practice. Smith could also lose a game paycheck, which for him is around half a million dollars, for each preseason game he sits out.

The 25-year-old linebacker was a first-round draft pick, eighth overall, by the Bears in 2018. He is set to make $9.7 million this season. Compared to some of his peers, he is underpaid. The Colts’ Shaquille Leonard and the 49ers’ Fred Warner, both drafted the same year as Smith, inked contract extension last year worth more than $90 million in total and more than $19 million per year.

Smith, who doesn’t have an agent and is representing himself, is likely seeking a contract of a similar size. He made his desire for a trade public on Tuesday morning in a statement provided to the NFL Network. In his statement, Smith wrote passionately about his desire to stay with the Bears and said that Poles and the Bears are “trying to take advantage of me.”

Poles fired back Tuesday after the Bears’ family fest practice at Soldier Field, saying he did not intend to trade Smith.

“There’s record-setting pieces of this contract that I thought was going to show him the respect that he deserves, and obviously that hasn’t been the case,” Poles said Tuesday.

Harry update: Receiver N’Keal Harry consulted with a specialist and underwent surgery on his injured ankle, Eberflus said. Harry injured his ankle during practice on Saturday.

Harry had tightrope surgery – which basically uses an implant to anchor the tibia and fibula together – and could miss about eight weeks, according to a report from the NFL Network. Eight weeks would put him out until at least early October.

Receiver David Moore is out with a lower leg injury, according to Eberflus. He provided no timetable for Moore’s return. Moore appeared to hurt his right knee during Tuesday’s practice at Soldier Field. He had to be carted off the field.

Tight end Cole Kmet and running back David Montgomery are day-to-day with minor injuries. Eberflus expects them to return soon, but said they are unlikely to play in Saturday’s preseason game.

Attendance: Once again, numerous Bears players sat out practice Thursday. Cornerback Kyler Gordon, receiver Velus Jones Jr., receiver Byron Pringle, cornerback Kindle Vildor, cornerback Thomas Graham Jr., safety Dane Cruikshank, running back David Montgomery, linebacker Noah Dawkins, linebacker Roquan Smith, tackle Julie’n Davenport, tight end James O’Shaughnessy, tight end Cole Kmet, defensive tackle Angelo Blackson and defensive end Mario Edwards were all present but not participating. Tight end Ryan Griffin and cornerback Tavon Young were not present.

Sean Hammond

Sean Hammond

Sean is the Chicago Bears beat reporter for the Shaw Local News Network. He has covered the Bears since 2020. Prior to writing about the Bears, he covered high school sports for the Northwest Herald and contributed to Friday Night Drive. Sean joined Shaw Media in 2016.