Roquan Smith Will Start Training Camp on the PUP List

As if Roquan Smith’s situation needed additional complications, another hurdle has come about.

Smith, who was set to hold out from training camp activities in response to not getting the contract extension he has been seeking, won’t be participating in any team activities at the outset of camp because he’ll begin the summer on the Physically Unable to Perform List. Smith’s inclusion is one of a handful of transactions the team announced this morning:

A spot on the PUP list is a designation for players suffering (or recovering) from football-related injuries, but aren’t quite ready to get the ball rolling at camp. Admittedly, part of me wants to think that Smith’s placement on the list is a roundabout way for the team to not fine the player as he goes through this contract dispute. And while that would be a clever loophole to use, I don’t know if the Bears want to be skirting rules like this after their dust-up with the NFL and NFLPA over practices last summer. The last thing a first-year head coach and general manager need is another set of sketchy optics.

And yet, I can’t think about a Smith injury that he could be recovering from at this moment. It’s not as if there was anything that stood out as something to be wary of during OTAs or minicamp. So, perhaps this *IS* a wink-and-a-nod kind of act of good faith by GM Ryan Poles to not fine a player (a team leader, at that) who came to camp despite dealing with a contract dispute. Smith said he’ll be available “when the smoke clears” — which felt like an acknowledgement of his present situation. In any case, I’m looking forward to seeing what comes of this new development.

written by

Luis C. Medina, who you can find on Twitter at lcm1986, has been covering the Chicago Bears at Bleacher Nation since 2017. Since then, he has written about 3 head coaches, 5 play-callers, and 11 starting quarterbacks. Previously, Luis wrote about the Cubs and MLB at BN (2015-16) and worked in the Chicago Tribune sports department (2011-16). He also co-hosted a Cubs postgame show, Outside the Ivy, in 2019.

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