Shortly after what was easily the best game of his 2022 season so far, Chicago Bears starting linebacker Roquan Smith sent a message to his supporters. The two-time All-Pro also had something to say to the folks who haven’t been so supportive.
As was widely reported, Smith asked for a trade in August after he didn’t get the contract extension he hoped for from Bears general manager Ryan Poles. Now in his fifth year with the team, Smith is looking to set the market for insider linebackers, and he’s going to have to show he can make game changing plays and force turnovers in order to make that happen.
His performance against the Houston Texans Week 3 is the kind of performance that will get him there, particularly if he keeps stacking games like it. Smith finished with 16 total tackles (two for loss) and an interception with 1:10 left in the fourth quarter that wound up making the difference in the game. It was all the more impressive, considering Smith hadn’t practiced much all week due to a hip issue.
“It was big time,” Smith said after the game about his pick. “But I was focused all week cuz I knew I was gonna give myself a shot to play in the game. Still wasn’t all the way there, but hey, half way’s better than no way. So I’m happy.”
Smith to Those Who Haven’t Supported Him: ‘F.U.’
The 25-year-old linebacker also credited his teammates, as defensive lineman Angelo Blackson tipped Texans quarterback Davis Mills’ pass at the line as Smith broke on it.
“It was really D-Linemen rushing,” Smith added. “I think somebody got a hand on the ball. I think it was tipped if I’m not mistaken. Then I just said, ‘Oh! I couldn’t believe it. It fell right to me.’ They say catch the ones that come to you and I did it. The rest is history.”
Smith says he had a feeling Mills was going to throw close to the first-down marker.
“I figured the quarterback was just gonna try to get the first down and move the sticks,” Smith recalled. “So I was like, ‘OK, cool.’ And then after that I said, ‘OK, I’m gonna break on it and then I took a chance.” It worked, and he snagged his first interception of the season. After returning Mills’ pass to the Texans’ 11-yard line, Smith heaved the ball into the stands, clearly fired up.
“I wonder where that ball went,” he added. “I just tried to throw it so far to say everything, you know what I mean. That was the best part, though: Throwing that ball.” When asked who he was throwing the ball to, Smith gave a blunt response: “To all my supporters. I threw it to all of them and saying F.U. to all the ones that don’t.”
Smith Needs More Impact Games to Earn Mega-Money
If the Bears’ LB has a few more games like the one he did against Houston, that shouldn’t be a problem.
In so many words, Smith revealed his mind is also on the prize the could be waiting for him at the end of the season in a hefty extension in Chicago — or elsewhere. “I’m always hungry to get better cuz, hey, I’m on a one-year deal essentially,” Smith said. “So I’m just trying to do everything I can to do what I need to do.”