Bears put Roquan Smith on PUP list before first practice
The Bears put star linebacker Roquan Smith on the Physically Unable to Perform list about an hour-and-a-half before holding their first practice.
The Bears put star linebacker Roquan Smith on the physically unable-to-perform list about 1½ hours before their first practice Wednesday. Smith wasn’t going to participate, anyway, as he protests the lack of a contract extension from general manager Ryan Poles.
After practice, head coach Matt Eberflus claimed Smith was on PUP because of an injury — he wouldn’t specify what — and didn’t bite when asked whether a new contract would render him suddenly physically able to perform.
“I know right now that he is on [PUP], and that’s all I can say at this time,” he said.
The PUP designation is curious. The Bears made no mention of any medical concerns with Smith a day earlier, though Poles acknowledged a standoff with the linebacker over whether to extend his contract as it enters its final year.
Smith watched practice Wednesday and was spotted on a stationary bicycle. He was not made available for comment Tuesday or Wednesday.
The Bears cannot fine Smith for missing practices while on PUP.
Smith is entering the final season of his rookie deal. An extension would likely be worth about $20 million per year over five years, similar to deals given last year to the Colts’ Shaquille Leonard — who changed his first name from Darius — and the 49ers’ Fred Warner.
Smith reported to camp Tuesday and took a physical but, Eberflus said, did not participate in the team’s conditioning drills later that day. He is taking part in meetings and spending time with his teammates inside Halas Hall.
Smith can be removed from PUP at any point during the preseason.
“He’s really in a good spot,” Eberflus said. “We had a great conversation, talking to him about where he is. He’s focused. He’s in meetings and he’s wired in, in that way.”
His message for Smith was simple.
“Stay involved, be a leader, be engaged — which he’s doing and will do,” Eberflus said. “He’s a pro. He’s been in the league long enough. He’s a really good player. We’re excited to have him as a Chicago Bear.”
New guard Michael Schofield, an Orland Park native and Sandburg High School alum, grew up a Bears fan. Wednesday, he listed off the jerseys he wore as a kid: receiver Marty Booker and quarterback Kyle Orton. He rattled off his favorite players, from Brian Urlacher to Lance Briggs to Olin Kreutz.
“I always wanted to land here,” said Schofield, who has played for the Broncos, Chargers and Panthers over the last seven years.
“Definitely growing up, obviously I was a pretty big Bears fan. It’s a dream come true for sure to be able to play here.”
Schofield and new tackle Riley Reiff practiced Wednesday but were somewhat limited in their reps — they’re still learning the playbook.
This and that
Defensive lineman Sam Kamara was put on PUP. Safety Dane Cruikshank, cornerback Michael Joseph and wide receiver Tajae Sharpe went on the non-football injury list.
— The Bears gift shop was selling Mitch Trubisky jerseys for $20.
— Highland Park High School football players, among other groups, were welcomed to an otherwise closed practice.