LAKE FOREST – The most compelling part of the Bears’ first training camp practice on Wednesday morning was whether one of the team’s best players was going to participate.
Roquan Smith did show up to training camp, reporting on time Tuesday morning, but speculation was rampant that he might stage a “hold-in” due to a lack of a contract extension.
An answer to that question came from the team just before the workout at Halas Hall.
On Wednesday morning, the Bears announced that Smith was one of two players placed on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list ahead of the start of training camp. Defensive lineman Sam Kamara also was placed on the list while Dane Cruikshank, Michael Joseph, and Tajae Sharpe went on the Non-Football Injury list.
On the preseason PUP list, Smith is eligible to return to the field immediately whenever he or the Bears see fit. This is different than the regular season, where a player on the PUP list must be out of the lineup for at least four games.
Smith is entering the final year of his rookie contract which will pay him $9.7 million for the 2022 season and he’s expected to get a major payday since he is one of the best young linebackers in the National Football League.
A two-time NFL All-Pro second team selection, Smith has led the team in tackles his first four seasons, including a career-high 163 in 2021. Smith has made 43 tackles for loss and collected 14 sacks along with five interceptions in 61 games with the Bears.
He was the eighth overall pick of the 2018 NFL Draft by the Bears after a standout career at Georgia.