Goodbye, Josh Woods, hello, Rashad Smith.
Shortly after Detroit Lions head coach Dan Campbell revealed that his team had poached Woods off the Chicago Bears‘ practice squad on September 23, Brad Biggs of The Chicago Tribune reported that the Bears were adding Smith to theirs.
Smith was originally signed by Chicago as an undrafted free agent following the 2020 NFL draft, and while he didn’t make the final 53-man roster, he was added to the team’s practice squad. The Dallas Cowboys signed him off Chicago’s PS last September, and elevated him to the active roster for six games. He didn’t play, though, and Dallas waived him in October. He caught on with the Philadelphia Eagles shortly after that, and he played in two games, registering three total tackles. He’ll fill Woods’ recently-vacated spot.
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Woods Was a Key Role Player on Special Teams for Bears Last Season
The Bears signed Woods as an UDFA out of Maryland in 2018. He spent the entire year on the practice squad before being elevated to the active roster in 2019, and he made the team again in 2020, when his role increased.
The 6-foot-1, 236-pound linebacker played in nine games during the 2019 season, and he contributed on 35% of the team’s special teams snaps, notching five total tackles. He played more on 2020, becoming a key special teams contributor. He played 60% of the Bears’ special teams snaps last year, and he even contributed on defense, playing 46 snaps at inside linebacker. He had 14 total tackles and his first career fumble recovery on the season.
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Updated Bears’ Practice Squad: A Current Look
With the addition of Rashad Smith, the Bears have a full 16-player practice squad. Chicago currently has four wide receivers (Rodney Adams, Isaiah Coulter, Dazz Newsome and Jon’Vea Johnson), four offensive linemen (Dieter Eiselen, Arlington Hambright, Alex Taylor and Tyrone Wheatley Jr.), two defensive backs (Thomas Graham Jr. and Teez Tabor), three linebackers (Smith, Charles Snowden and Sam Kamara), a running back (Ryan Nall), a defensive lineman (Margus Hunt) and a kicker (Brian Johnson) all signed to the practice squad.
Woods was a valued member of the PS, as he was one of two players elevated to Chicago’s active roster for the team’s Week 1 game against the Los Angeles Rams (Hunt was the other), and when he didn’t make the Bears’ roster this season (UDFA Caleb Johnson impressed enough in training camp and preseason to beat him out), his special teams experience was bound to draw interest from some teams needy in that department. The Bears and Lions face off Week 4 at Soldier Field in Chicago and again on Thanksgiving, when the Bears head to Ford Field, so it’s likely they’ll see Woods again this season.
It remains to be seen how big of a role Campbell will give him.