LAKE FOREST – At least they showed up, which isn’t the worst thing before Ryan Poles’ first training camp as a general manager.
Linebacker Roquan Smith and defensive end Robert Quinn could have both decided to hold out due to their own issues with the Bears concerning their future. Instead, both of them arrived Tuesday at reporting day at Halas Hall ahead of the start of training camp.
“I was told that they’re here,” said Poles when asked about Quinn and Smith.
Naturally, the next question was whether both players would be on the field when the team holds their first practice of training camp on Wednesday.
“Right now, we’re going through the check-in process. That’s by Noon. We’ll kinda take it one step at a time with that,” said Poles of both when asked about that directly.
The questions were more aimed at Smith, who reportedly won’t take the field for practice as he looks for a new contract from the franchise as his rookie deal is set to expire at the end of the season. The middle linebacker, considered by some to be the Bears’ best player, participated in all of the offseason training activities and mini-camp.
“I don’t know what his intentions are. I know he checked in and we’re going to take it from there,” said Poles when asked about the situation with Smith. “We’ll gather information and take it one step at a time. That’s all I can do.”
This could be a situation known as a “Hold-In,” where a player will report for camp but won’t take part in on-field activities. This avoids penalties for not showing up to camp, which increased with the new Collective Bargaining Agreement in 2020. Veteran players are fined $50,000 per day if they don’t show up while players on their rookie contracts are subject to a $40,000 per day fine.
The latter would apply to Smith, who is slated to make $9.7 million in the fifth and final year of his first NFL contract. Quinn is in the third season of his five-year, $70 million deal signed in 2020 by then general manager Ryan Pace, but may be interested in a trade to a team more likely to be a contender this season.
So how will new head coach Matt Eberflus if one or neither is on the field for practice Wednesday?
“I’ll cross that bridge when we come to it,” said Ebeflus when asked that question. “Really, you just want to get the max out of them. Whatever they can do, they can do, and go from there, but we’ll cross that bridge when we get there.”
It’s likely they’ll reach it quickly as his first training camp as an NFL head coach gets ready to begin.