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Missing out: Bears — minus Roquan Smith — bond over Brian Urlacher’s speech

Chicago Bears linebacker Roquan Smith played eight snaps Sunday. | David Banks/Associated Press

BOURBONNAIS — When the Bears watched Brian Urlacher’s Hall of Fame speech as a team Saturday night, Danny Trevathan was reminded of what it means to play linebacker for the Bears.

“That’s why I came here,” Trevathan said. “That’s one of the main reasons why I came here: the tradition at linebacker. It’s not an easy job, but like he said, it’s like the tough stuff makes you grow. I’m here for a reason, and I like playing linebacker for the Chicago Bears.”

But even more stuck out.

“[Urlacher] said he wanted to be the best teammate, the best player he could be,” Trevathan said. “He didn’t want to take all of the time talking about himself in the speeches. That just goes to show [that he was] the true leader and [that] he loved the game of football. He played it the right way at linebacker. He changed the -criteria of linebackers, made plays. He was the glue that held them together.”

But there was one notable -player missing from the group’s watch party: rookie linebacker Roquan Smith, whose contract -impasse with the Bears entered Day 21 on Sunday.

Coach Matt Nagy wanted his players to come away from -Urlacher’s speech feeling inspired.

“[Urlacher] talked so much about others and not just about himself,” Nagy said. “I thought it was really telling for our guys.”


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Smith’s absence stands out even more because of Urlacher’s messages from Canton, Ohio.

Linebacker Joel Iyiegbuniwe had gotten to know Smith well after rooming with him at rookie camp in May.

Asked to describe Smith, Iyiegbuniwe said: “Great guy. Funny. Loves the game, great player.”

Smith could find himself in the same conversation as some of the other all-time-great Bears linebackers including Dick Butkus, Lance Briggs and Mike Singletary. But he has to get to camp and prove himself first.

Smith has missed 12 practices and the exhibition game against the Ravens. Even if he signs Monday, it seems unlikely that the first-round pick would play Thursday against the Bengals in Cincinnati.

“[Smith is missing] the communication aspect and little details,” said Trevathan, who, like Iyiegbuniwe, has been talking to Smith. “Where you mess up here, you ain’t gonna mess up again. You get that down pat and move on to the next one. Just the little stuff. But I mean, we’ll take care of that when he gets here. We got his back.”

Is Smith eager to get to camp?

“I have no idea,” Trevathan said. “I just told him to get here when he can.”