Roquan Smith Nominated for Being Generally Awesome

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Roquan Smith Nominated for Being Generally Awesome

Chicago Bears

Roquan Smith’s awesome-ness meter continues to swell this season, as the fourth-year linebacker continues to accumulate praise and accolades around the league. On Thursday, the Bears chose Smith as their nominee for the 2021 Art Rooney Sportsmanship Award.

If you’re not familiar with the honor, it’s an award given to the player who demonstrates on the field the qualities of great sportsmanship, including fair play, respect for opponents, and integrity in competition. Each team nominates a player for the award, and then a panel of former players from the NFL Legends Community votes to determine the winner. The winner receives a $25,000 donation from the NFL Foundation awarded to the charity of their choice.

Whether Smith wins the award or not, it’s pretty cool to see Smith’s name being talked about nationally this year. He’s been arguably the most popular player in Chicago in recent years, and after getting snubbed from All-Pro honors last season, Smith is finally getting his flowers from the rest of the league. Smith logged 139 tackles, four sacks, two interceptions, and a forced fumble last season.

The former Georgia Bulldog has already logged 121 tackles, three sacks, an interception, and a touchdown this season.

This guy does it all. The last time I watched an inside linebacker with the speed, skill, and on-ball ability that Roquan Smith possesses, I was watching Brian Urlacher do his thing, which ended with an induction into the Hall of Fame.

Through three-plus seasons with the Bears (56 games), Roquan Smith has 483 tackles, 14 sacks, a forced fumble, and five interceptions. Smith will blow by the 500 tackle mark by the end of this season. Brian Urlacher recorded 510 tackles in his first four NFL seasons, which means that in all likelihood, Roquan Smith will be on a higher career tackles pace than Brian Urlacher through their first four seasons. If Smith doesn’t log another interception this season, he’ll be just one behind Urlacher’s six in his first four seasons, and he’ll be seven sacks behind Urlacher if he doesn’t record another one all season which I highly doubt.

Am I saying that Roquan Smith will be a Hall of Famer when it’s all said and done? No. But I’m saying he may end up there if he continues the trajectory he’s on, and it’s a damn shame that he’s gotten no national recognition to this point. Urlacher was a Pro-Bowler in each of his first four seasons and a first-team All-Pro in two of those four seasons.

Let’s start genuinely appreciating what Roquan Smith is doing and get this man the recognition he deserves. Oh, and if the Bears don’t back up the Brinks truck for his extension, it’ll be borderline criminal negligence on their part.

Roquan Smith is pretty damn good, and it’s high time he starts to get his flowers nationally. Do your part and get him some Pro Bowl votes on Twitter this week!

Author: Patrick K. Flowers

Patrick is the Lead NFL Writer at Bleacher Nation. You can follow him on Twitter @PatrickKFlowers.