By Wanda Wiedman // @WandaW63
Not every college athlete gets the honor and privilege to hear their name called on Draft Day. But a young man from Macon County Georgia did on April 26th, 2018. He was picked by the Chicago Bears to be the next linebacker to soar like the franchise Hall of Fame greats in Dick Butkus, Mike Singletary, and Brian Urlacher.
With the 8th pick of the 2018 NFL Draft, the Bears selected Roquan Smith from the University of Georgia. The cheers from fans everywhere were deafening and the dream of the return of the Monsters of the Midway was just within their reach.
Dream on Bears fans…
Shortly after the Bears hosted their rookie camp and teammates were hailing Smith’s NFL IQ and work ethic, the defense looked like it could find it’s way up to the top five in 2018. But that all changed with new rules, contract language, and heels that are so deep in the cement one would need a jackhammer to get them out.
There is no question that Smith is a hard worker. In his Meet the Rookies video, he spoke about working hard and contributing to a team. Watching him play as a Georgia Bulldog was exciting as he would tackle with earnestness and grit, something the Bears are very proud to have as an attitude of their defense. He loves the game of football and is really good at it.
So why isn’t he on the field playing at his first preseason game?
Because unfortunately, Smith picked the wrong agency to represent him. Frankly, fans have had enough of the Smith hold out. He has already missed training camp and his first preseason game. And if he doesn’t get on the practice field this week in time for game two of the preseason, he will not be ready for game one of the regular season. This holdout is an absolute travesty as it prevents him from showing the NFL world how special he really is.
Roquan Smith’s absence today makes it official that he missed his entire rookie training camp.
Even worse? Doesn’t appear to be an end in sight.
I think it’s fair to assume if he misses next game, he’s likely not going to be starting week one. #Bears
— Aaron Leming (@AaronLemingNFL) August 12, 2018
However, as long as Creative Artist Agency continues to hold out for their own personal gain, Smith will deprive himself of the joy of fans cheering for every hit, or seeing his name on jerseys of fans who just can’t get enough of his impact on the Bears defense. Let’s be honest, Smith has the power to say to CAA, ‘I know who I am and I know that I won’t have any off-field issues that the Bears or I would need to worry about. This should not be a problem and I will make sure of it.’
Smith seems like a very bright young man, who knows who he is and stands behind his abilities and work ethics. But until he demands the CAA to do whatever it takes to get him on the field today, his holdout is costing him more lost money than the guaranteed is worth.
— DaWindyCityFS (@DaWindyCityFS) August 7, 2018
As it stands, Bears fans have had enough of waiting for their first-round draft pick and his holdout. It is unfair to label him a bust, or spoiled, or ungrateful. He is a promising young player who wants to play but put his trust in an agency he hired to set his contract and have his best interest at heart. Roquan needs to make CAA work for him and demand that he be on the field tomorrow morning. No one will remember Smith the longer he holds out.
Enough is enough. The Chicago Bears need you buddy and your fans are waiting!
UPDATE: Soon after the above article was published, the holdout was over.
The #Bears and first-round LB Roquan Smith have agreed to terms on his rookie deal, source said. The holdout is over, he’s coming in. They are finializing the language.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) August 13, 2018
Talk Bears football with Wanda on Twitter // @WandaW63