Holdout: LB Roquan Smith misses Bears’ first training-camp practice

SHARE Holdout: LB Roquan Smith misses Bears’ first training-camp practice

Roquan Smith is presented with his Bears jersey by Roger Goodell. | AP

BOURBONNAIS — Roquan Smith’s holdout reached its biggest milestone Friday, when he missed the Bears’ first training-camp practice.

Smith didn’t report with the rest of the rookie class Monday and didn’t move onto campus with the veterans Thursday.

Smith and the Bears have been unable to reach an agreement on his rookie contract. They’re still trying to negotiate the finer details of a deal that is expected to pay him about $18.5 million over four years. Seven of the top nine picks in the draft — including Smith, the No. 8 pick — have yet to sign.

Asked if he was frustrated, coach Matt Nagy demurred, repeating general manager Ryan Pace’s stance that negotiating over small contract details has become commonplace.

“It’s a part of the process,” Nagy said. “It’s not unrealistic, but again, it is what it is. So Roquan is a great kid, a great football player, and when the time comes for him to be here, he’ll be out here and he’ll get those reps back.”


• Bears’ Kyle Long ‘feeling great’ in return after two injury-riddled seasons

• Sam Acho: No rule in Bears’ book that punishes players for anthem protests

Smith is a “more mature rookie,” outside linebacker Leonard Floyd said, and should be in shape whenever he arrives.

“I’m pretty sure he knows what his expectations is when he gets here,” Floyd said. “Show up in shape and all that other stuff. I’m pretty sure he’s working hard.”

Anthem approach ‘different’ than Miami

As the NFL and the Players Association announced plans to pause and discuss the league’s national anthem policy, Nagy said the Bears have yet to finalize one of their own.

“There’s been talk within our organization, so we’re kind of waiting to see what’s going on with the league and where that’s going to go,” he said. “Obviously, there’s something that needs to be done before the Ravens game.”

Outside linebacker Sam Acho, the team’s union rep, said the Bears will take a different approach than the Dolphins, who said protesting during the anthem was a violation of team rules and subject to a fine or suspension.

“I’m confident that, and [chairman] George [McCaskey] might have already said it, but that our team would take a different approach,” he said.

Acho said the Bears don’t have any team policy that punishes players who protest.

“There’s not a rule in our rulebooks that you must …. the team must pay the fine for the player or the player must pay the fine,” Acho said. “It more goes back to, ‘Who’s your owner? How does he feel about the team? What’s his stance?’ ”

“I know we have an owner who’s very conscientious, an owner who cares about winning but also cares about his players.”

Urlacher honor

The Bears will honor Brian Urlacher at halftime of their home opener, the former linebacker told ESPN 1000. The Bears have said they won’t retire any more jersey numbers, though Urlacher could receive his Hall of Fame ring Sept. 17.

Want your Bears training camp update without delay? Each day of summer practice, Sun-Times Bears’ beat writers Patrick Finley, Adam Jahns and Mark Potash will share exclusive insights on the workout and interviews in a livestream conversation 1 p.m. daily through August 12. Catch their live analysis and ask questions on Twitter: @suntimes_sports or follow Sun-Times Sports on Periscope to be notified of each live report. 

The Latest
The young goalie finally got some goal support Tuesday, but he allowed three goals off rebounds before struggling in the shootout as the Hawks fell 4-3 to the Predators.
GoJet Flight 4423 and SkyWest Flight 5433 were waiting for gate space when the wingtip of one aircraft struck the other on the runway about 7 p.m. No one was hurt.
After nearly four months, the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists approved a three-year pact with 78% voting in favor.
Denny Laine was a founding member of the Moody Blues and sang the hit ‘Go Now.’ He joined Paul and Linda McCartney in Wings, playing guitar and on backing vocals.