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#pounditMonday, May 27, 2024

Former Bears star claims team lied to him

Roquan Smith with an earpiece in

Aug 25, 2018; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Bears linebacker Roquan Smith (58) is seen on the sideline during the second half of the game against the Kansas City Chiefs at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Quinn Harris-USA TODAY Sports

One former Chicago Bears star feels like he got snaked by the team.

In a feature this week by Dan Pompei of The Athletic, Baltimore Ravens linebacker Roquan Smith called out his old team the Bears (and more specifically general manager Ryan Poles) for supposedly lying to him.

Smith claims that Poles told him last offseason that he planned to build the team’s defense around him and give Smith a “top-of-the-market” contract.

“I took him at his word,” Smith told The Athletic. “But life happens.

“I thought Poles would ship me out, but he told me numerous times, ‘I don’t plan to trade you at all,’” added Smith. “So I was like, ‘I guess I won’t be going anywhere.’ He said we’d talk at the end of the [2022] season.”

In the feature, Smith also claims Poles later offered him a highly backloaded contract with unusual de-escalators, an offer that Smith called a “slap in the face.” You can read the full story here.

The 25-year-old Smith, who was a first-round draft pick by the Bears in 2018, performed like a top-end talent in Chicago. He made two All-Pro teams with the Bears, set the team’s single-season record for combined tackles in 2021, and appeared in 69 of 73 possible games over his Bears career. But the team’s unwillingness to give him an upper-tier extension later led to Smith being sent to the Ravens in a midseason trade.

The Bears would probably dispute Smith’s account of what happened since Smith was the one who held out from training camp in July and eventually issued a bizarre demand to be traded. But Smith would then likely counter that Poles’ refusal to keep his word was what started all the drama in the first place. We do know that Poles, who just took the Bears GM job earlier this year, made questionable public comments about Smith at the time of their dispute.

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