Mum is the word when it comes to the “personal issue” that kept Chicago Bears linebacker Roquan Smith out of Sunday’s win against the Minnesota Vikings.
Check it out:
Bears coach Matt Nagy is still calling the Roquan Smith situation a "personal issue." No new information provided by the team today.
— Jeff Dickerson (@DickersonESPN) September 30, 2019
Matt Nagy being pretty consistent with his message on Roquan Smith: “I'm not getting into anything with Roquan.”
— Adam Hoge (@AdamHoge) September 30, 2019
#Bears coach Matt Nagy won't say whether Roquan Smith's return is the choice of the linebacker or the team.
— Patrick Finley (@patrickfinley) September 30, 2019
Bears Head Coach Matt Nagy was asked about Smith’s absence from the lineup throughout his Monday press conference. But rather than give direct answers or even talk around the questions, Nagy refused to comment and deflected all questions regarding Smith. Nagy repeated the term “personal issue” at least four times and remained insistent (if not defiant) in not discussing any aspect of Smith’s absence. And to take it a step further, Nagy would not even venture to discuss whether Smith would travel with the team to London for its Week 5 showdown against the Raiders.
Smith was a surprising scratch after being downgraded to doubtful late on Sunday afternoon. And while it is worth noting that Smith was on the sideline with the team, Patrick Finley of the Chicago Sun-Times tweeted Smith left Soldier Field before the locker room opened up. The Bears have certainly not jumped in to clarify what is a cloudy situation.
This is clearly a sensitive issue, and one Nagy is taking seriously. But still … I can’t remember a time when Nagy has been this closed off when discussing anything. Nagy has been in Chicago for a little more than a year, but has never been so evasive in side-stepping questions in this manner.
Nick Kwiatkoski filled in nicely for Smith, contributing with a team-leading nine tackles, a sack, forced fumble, two tackles-for-loss, a special teams tackle, and one (1) opposing running back used as a means to take down Kirk Cousins. Whether Kwiatkoski continues to get reps in the starter’s role in place of Smith remains to be seen. But as long as Smith’s status is up in the air, it would be wise for him to prepare like a starter.