Linebacker Roquan Smith wasn’t with his Bears teammates for the Hall of Fame Game, and he won’t be with them in Cincinnati, either, as the impasse over his contract language marched toward its fourth week Wednesday.
Still, he figures to be paying attention Thursday night. He was against the Ravens.
Last week, after wide receiver Javon Wims led all players in catches and receiving yards, Smith texted his former Georgia teammate some words of congratulations.
“He just let me know he’s proud of me,” Wims, who had seven catches for 89 yards, said this week. “He’s seen me in games. He just let me know that that was kinda expected on his end.”
Wims knows Smith better than anyone at Bears camp, having spent the last two years playing alongside him with the Bulldogs.
His description of Smith is telling, given the impasse, which centers around whether the Bears can void the guarantees in his rookie deal for on-field suspensions.
“He’s a country boy — he don’t need much,” Wims said.
Wims described him as friendly and funny with a corny sense of humor. He said he’s not worried that his reputation in Chicago already has suffered because of the standoff.
“I really don’t pay attention to it,” Wims said. “That’s my brother. I’m going to stick with him regardless.”
He has told Smith — who didn’t report to training camp with Bears rookies July 16 — as much.
“I just let him know we’re out here working,” he said. “And I wanted to let him know that wherever he’s at, ‘Just continue to put in work — so when you get here, you’re ready.’
“I know he’s working. . . . He has some of the best work ethic and work habits I’ve ever seen.”
The Bears, meanwhile, are still waiting to see it in person.
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