Smith appeared on the December 7 episode of the Punch Line podcast with Marlon Humphrey, which is hosted by the Ravens’ All-Pro starting cornerback. Smith, who initially requested a trade on August 9 because he felt the Bears, under first-year general manager Ryan Poles, “didn’t value” him, says he was still surprised he was traded.
“It’s pretty crazy, cause I didn’t think I was gonna get traded,” Smith said. “Obviously, I requested the trade … but he (Ryan Poles) told me he wasn’t going to trade me. But you know, things happen.”
Smith went on to say multiple Bears coaches, along with several players, were as surprised as he was.
Roquan Smith Talks Moment Bears GM Ryan Poles Informed Him He’d Be Traded
Smith said that when he was informed he’d be traded, he thought the NFL’s trade deadline had already passed.
“I should’ve known something (was up) when we were doing a walk-through (on November 1),” Smith recalled. “Finish up the walk-through. I go shower and after I shower, I’m about to go to my bodywork lady, so I’m headed to her … And then I get a tap from the guy who was like the GM assistant or whatever, and he says: ‘Poles would like to see you up in his office.’ … I was like: ‘Is it urgent?’ And he was like: ‘Yeah. This needs to be done in person.'”
Smith says he initially thought Poles might want to talk about the LB’s contract and the extension he had been hoping for, but when he heard it had to be an in-person conversation, Smith knew something big was up.
Smith says Poles thanked him for his hard work and what he brought to the franchise.
“The crazy part was that it went on for like four minutes before he actually told me where I was going,” Smith added. “My stomach dropped.”
Did he say anything back to Poles after he received the news?
“It was definitely emotional. I didn’t say anything. I was just like: ‘Alright, thank you.’ Shook his hand and then basically walked out.”
How Did Bears Players & Coaches React to the Trade?
According to Smith, both head coach Matt Eberflus and linebackers coach Dave Borgonzi appeared to be surprised the star linebacker had been traded.
“I think the head coach was caught off-guard,” Smith said, adding: “I think the position coach, I definitely think he was caught off-guard, as well.”
How did his former teammates react?
“They couldn’t believe it,” Smith said. “Some of the guys that was in there, they were like: ‘What are you talking about? You joking?'”
Roquan Smith Shares His Thoughts on Justin Fields Situation
Smith was also asked whether he’d keep current Bears starting quarterback Justin Fields, or draft USC’s Caleb Williams. His answer was telling.
“That would be a tough decision for any exec,” Smith replied. “I look at from the standpoint of: Fields, he’s a talented dude. He can really make things happen. Truth be told, what is around him to actually showcase that? … You gotta put some weapons around him. You look at all the top teams around the league, on the offensive side, they’ve got weapons.”
Smith mentioned Bears receivers DJ Moore and Darnell Mooney as solid players, but noted other top quarterbacks, including Jalen Hurts of the Philadelphia Eagles and Brock Purdy of the San Francisco 49ers, all have talented and reliable playmakers on offense.
“Purdy, he’s got like, three, four dudes that are All-Pros (on offense),” Smith said. He has a point. Niners left tackle Trent Williams, tight end George Kittle, wide receiver Deebo Samuel and running back Christian McCaffrey have all been named first-team All-Pros over their careers.
“If he (Fields) was in a system where he actually had pieces around him, I think the dude would light it up. He would be a threat very similar to Lamar in my opinion,” Smith added.