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Bears GM Ryan Poles Responds To Roquan Smith’s Holdout

The Bears’ GM didn’t elaborate but perhaps that’s a good thing.

Chicago Bears Ryan Poles Matt Eberflus
Photo: Chicago Bears/YouTube

As the Chicago Bears get training camp underway on Tuesday, General Manager Ryan Poles met with the media alongside head coach Matt Eberflus. Almost immediately Poles addressed the situation surrounding linebacker Roquan Smith and his holdout for a new contract.

Ryan Poles On Roquan Smith

Poles made it clear very early that he was not going to discuss contract negotiations with the media. But he wanted to point out something specific about the Roquan Smith holdout.

“My feelings for Roquan don’t change at all. I love the player and the person and that won’t change.”

Ryan Poles

Reporters couldn’t resist bombarding Ryan Poles with questions about Roquan Smith and his answers held firmly. Poles didn’t get into specifics about the contract situation. But he did admit a peculiar fascination that shows how early he is in his career as a General Manager.

Reporter Hub Arkush asked this very intriguing question:

“Ryan, without getting into the contract at all. Is it your preference to get a deal done with Roquan now? Or would you prefer a chance to get to know him better and see more before you pull that trigger?”

Hub Arkush

Poles responded as you might expect by not going into detail about the contract but he did say this in response:

“That’s a tough question. I’m not gonna get into the thoughts on what I would prefer and all of that, I just kind of deal with what’s on the table right now.”

Ryan Poles


What’s not surprising here, is the constant questioning of the Roquan Smith situation. But it’s refreshing to hear a first-time GM like Poles admit he is playing with the cards that he’s dealt. Any NFL GM can spew ‘football-speak’ at reporters. Poles did a little of this by reminding reporters that he wouldn’t dive into contract specifics.

But Ryan Poles also showed his youth in his answer and that, in some ways, takes guts. The Chicago Bears are investing in Poles to build a future and dealing with player holdouts is only one aspect of that. However, he did illuminate one aspect of this situation that directly contradicts the original report. Poles stated that Roquan Smith is in fact there at training camp.

Whether or not Smith participates in the Bears’ training camp until reaching a new deal is still unknown. But it seems Ryan Poles understands the importance of having the Bears’ star linebacker on the field and will work towards reaching an agreement.

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