Mum is the word from Roquan Smith, who didn’t have much to say when asked to expand on the complicated contract negotiations that led to a 29-day holdout on numerous occasions.
I’m not saying there was a script, but if there was, Smith followed it precisely when meeting with the assembled media at Halas Hall after his first practice session after signing his rookie deal. Smith was peppered with questions about his holdout and his answers didn’t deviate at all.
What was the process in getting the deal figured out?
“That’s between my agents and Mr. Pace. It was something they had to deal with and we got it all figured out.”
Did you think it would take this long?
“I didn’t ever really think about it like that. I just kept my faith in my agent and Mr. Pace to get things situated.”
Were there any concerns about missing the opener?
“I never really worried about it. I just kept confidence that they’ll work something out.”
Did you have any say in recent days that led to this getting done?
“I left that up to my agent and Mr. Pace to figure it out.”
What did your agents tell you about the contract’s details?
“That contract stuff is for my agent and Mr. Pace.”
Were you concerned about the helmet rule?
“I just have to come out and trust the coaches, their coaching, and let my agent and Mr. Pace to handle things the best way they know how.”
Well, then. Despite the lack of details offered up by Smith regarding the lengthy holdout, the Bears’ newest inside linebacker shared some anecdotes about what else was going on while he was away.
While Smith was keeping the faith in his agent and his team’s general manager to iron out a deal, Smith was “training pretty hard” in Athens at the University of Georgia. Smith said he kept in contact with teammates via text, studied his playbook, and watched film. All things considered, Smith could be further behind where he is now. And because he was able to pick up things during the post-draft OTAs, at least he isn’t starting off from square one like rookie holdouts of the past.
In the end, Smith expressed he was “happy to be here” with his teammates and coaches at practice. Same here, fella. Same here.
There was never a doubt (at least, in Smith’s mind) that he would miss regular season action, so he must have felt pretty confident in his agent and Pace to get something done in a timely manner. Now that it’s all done, let’s play ball already.
Should you want to watch the entirety of Smith’s meeting with the media at Halas Hall from Tuesday, you can check out the embedded video below: