ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — When Roquan Smith finally reported back to Halas Hall on Tuesday, his teammates made him perform. He chose a song from Lil’ Baby, who is also a Georgia native.
“He got booed,” running back Jordan Howard said Thursday.
Receiver Allen Robinson was equally critical.
“He’ll have some more opportunities to improve on that,” he said. “But it was his first day. It was good to get him back in the team meeting, and being around. That’s the most important thing.”
Wednesday marked Smith’s first padded practice, making Thursday his first performance while sore. He participated in every aspect of the joint practice against the Broncos, in which both teams wore shells.
Todd France, Smith’s agent, watched practice closely and had a long talk with general manager Ryan Pace afterward.
Coach Matt Nagy wouldn’t rule Smith out for Saturday night’s preseason game. Nagy and his staff expect to make a decision Friday night.
Smith could benefit from some game action after his 29-day absence. Still, the Bears know the risks of playing someone — at altitude — who has only participated in one padded practice since January. The Bears have erred on the side of caution when deciding on who played in their first two preseason games.
It’s hard to be full-speed in practice right away, much less games.
“You’re probably more like 90 percent than 100,” Nagy said. “You’ve got the pads on and you’re running around and again you’re going to look a little bit slower as well, because you’re getting into the mental side of it, too.”
Nagy was impressed by Smith’s instincts after watching film from Wednesday’s practice. His teammates also were impressed.
“A player of his caliber, it’s always good to get talent back,” Robinson said. “As a team, you want to have the most talented players on the field at one time. So with him being the kind of player he is, it’s extremely good to have him back.”
Broncos outside linebacker Bradley Chubb, who was drafted three spots ahead of Smith, described Smith as quiet and respectful.
“To see him out here doing his thing is fun,” Chubb said.
Quarterback Mitch Trubisky said “nobody has any hard feelings” about Smith’s holdout.
“It was business,” quarterback Trubisky said. “But he’s here now, he’s ready to play football, and we’re excited to have him.
“He’s a part of this family. We embrace that. It’s just go time from now. It’s our job to get him caught up as much as possible. He’s a great football player, so he’s going to help out this defense, this team.”