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.”
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.”
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.
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