Chicago Bears fans don’t care all that much about what Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers has to say. But his recent comments about Bears linebacker Roquan Smith will have those same fans smiling from ear to ear.
“He’s a difference maker, he’s a sideline to sideline linebacker, he’s an excellent rusher against backs on his blitzes, he can cover,” Rodgers said of Smith. “He can do it all. He’s one of the top guys at his position for sure. I like the way he goes about his business. He’s very kind of low-key classy, plays hard to the whistle. Every now and then you hear a little trash talk, which he’s good at. Wouldn’t have minded if he’d gotten traded in training camp, but lot of respect for him.”
Smith’s offseason has been interesting, to say the least. The All-Pro linebacker ‘held in’ during training camp until contract negotiations turned sour. He requested a trade in August and turned to social media to express his displeasure with the Bears organization.
“The new front office regime doesn’t value me here,” Smith wrote in a statement shared by Network’s Ian Rapoport. “They’ve refused to negotiate in good faith, every step of this journey has been ‘take it or leave it’. The deal sent to me is one that would be bad for myself, and for the entire LB market if I signed it. I’ve been trying to get something done that’s fair since April, but their focus has been on trying to take advantage of me.”
General manager Ryan Poles stayed true to his word, however, and didn’t trade Smith, whom Poles consistently praised despite the linebacker’s harsh words.
As the Bears gear up for Sunday night’s matchup against the Packers, Smith is focusing on what he can control, and he’s having fun while doing it.
Roquan Smith led the Bears with 9 tackles in Week 1’s upset win over the San Francisco 49ers but his Pro Football Focus grade of 29.5 was the worst on Chicago’s defense. He’ll need a stronger performance against Rodgers and the Packers in Week 2 for the Bears to make it back-to-back weeks with shocking victories.