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Bears LB Roquan Smith requests trade

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Linebacker Roquan Smith led the Chicago Bears in tackles in each of the past four seasons. File Photo by Joe Marino/UPI | <a href="/News_Photos/lp/2c2db3a5d1554569c4c64d8b62bbf135/" target="_blank">License Photo</a>
Linebacker Roquan Smith led the Chicago Bears in tackles in each of the past four seasons. File Photo by Joe Marino/UPI | License Photo

Aug. 9 (UPI) -- Chicago Bears linebacker Roquan Smith requested a trade from the NFC North franchise, he announced Tuesday in a statement.

Smith released the statement to NFL Network. He said the franchise's "new front office regime doesn't value" him. He also said they refused to negotiate with him "in good faith."

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The four-year veteran is entering the final option year of his rookie contract.

"They've refused to negotiate in good faith, every step of this journey has been 'take it or leave it,'" Smith wrote. "The deal sent to me is one that would be bad for myself, and the entire LB market if I signed it.

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"I've been trying to get something done that's fair since April, but their focus has been trying to take advantage of me. I wanted to be a Bear my entire career, help this team bring a super bowl back to our city.

"However, they have left me no choice than to request a trade that allows me to play for an organization that truly values what I bring to the table."

Smith, the No. 8 overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, totaled a career-high 163 combined tackles, three sacks, three passes defensed, an interception and a touchdown in 17 starts last season. He also led the Bears in tackles in each of his first four NFL seasons.

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He totaled 139 combined tackles, seven passes defensed, four sacks, two interceptions, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery in 16 starts in 2020.

Smith also was one of the highest-rated linebackers in pass coverage last season, according to Pro Football Focus. His 69.2 grade in coverage ranked 13th among linebackers.

Smith was placed on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list in July when he reported to training camp. He was doing individual work on a stationary bike during recent practices. The Bears did not specify an injury for Smith when they designated him for the PUP list.

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The young linebacker said he has yet to speak with Bears ownership.

"I haven't had the chance to talk to the McCaskey family [Bears ownership group], and maybe they can salvage this, but as of right now I don't see a path back to the organization that I truly love," Smith wrote in his statement.

Nicholas Morrow and Matt Adams were expected to start alongside Smith at the other linebacker spots this season for the Bears. Joe Thomas, Caleb Johnson, Jack Sanborn, Javin White, Noah Dawkins and DeMarquis Gates are among the other linebackers on the Bears roster.

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The Bears will host the Kansas City Chiefs in their first preseason game at 1 p.m. EDT Saturday at Soldier Field. They will host the San Francisco 49ers in their first regular-season game Sept. 11 in Chicago.

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