Bears Insider

Eberflus mum on details regarding Smith's PUP status

Bears Insider
Roquan Smith

LAKE FOREST – Roquan Smith is present at Halas Hall, but he's not participating after landing on the Physically Unable To Perform list with … some sort of injury.

Reports surfaced Monday that the Bears' star linebacker wouldn't participate as he awaits a new contract that fits his talent. Smith is in the final year of his contract.

But head coach Matt Eberflus said Wednesday that Smith arrived Tuesday at intake and took a physical where an undisclosed injury landed the linebacker on the PUP. Eberflus wouldn't disclose the nature of Smith's injury and wouldn't take the bait on whether a new contract would be the elixir that heals him.

On Tuesday, general manager Ryan Poles and Eberflus did not mention a physical concern for Smith but acknowledged the contractual standoff.

Per the latest collective bargaining agreement, the Bears would have had the option to fine Smith for missing practice if healthy. They can't fine him while he's on the PUP list.

Smith can be removed from the PUP list at any point during the preseason.

Despite not being on the field, Eberflus seems pleased with where Smith is at as the Bears prepare for the 2022 season.

"He is in a good spot," Eberflus said Wednesday. "He's really in a good spot. We had a great conversation, talking to him about where he is. He's focused. He's in meetings and he's wired in in that way and again he is on PUP right now, so he is not able to get out there and practice, but he's wired in."

 

Smith rode a stationary bike during part of the Bears' first training camp practice Wednesday.

Smith is set to make $9.7 million this season. It's fair to assume he's looking to become the highest-paid linebacker in the NFL with a contract that pays him an average of $20 million a year.

Despite the standoff, Poles was adamant Tuesday that his feelings toward Smith and the linebacker's future with the team haven't changed.

As Smith and the Bears navigate the contractual waters, Eberflus has a clear message for his defensive leader.

"Stay involved, be a leader, be engaged, which he's doing and will do," Eberflus said. "He's a pro. He's been in the league long enough. He's a really good player. We're excited to have him as a Chicago Bear. And he'll do that."

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