As far as Chicago Bears linebacker Roquan Smith is concerned, the offseason contract issues are in the past.
"I'm not focused on that, if I'm being completely honest," he said, via the Chicago Sun-Times. "My focus is on making this year the best year I can and then go from there. I don't want to look forward too much to the future or anything like that.
"I'm just focused on having the best year I can with my teammates and playing the game I love. That's what means the most to me."
Smith sat out training camp and the preseason after not coming to terms on a new long-term contract and requesting a trade this offseason. But the 25-year-old, who enters the final year of his rookie deal, said that's all in the past, and he's focusing on proving he's worthy of a big contract.
"It's already in the back of my mind," he said. "It just came to the front when you just mentioned it."
Bears general manager Ryan Poles told reporters on Thursday that he believes things can be repaired between Smith and the team.
"He's a good player. That's never changed," Poles said, via The Athletic. "I have faith that he's going to have a good year. ... You have disagreements and then you've gotta come back together and be teammates. That's what I expect."
From Smith's perspective, only an injury could stop him from shining and showing he should be paid more than the Bears offered this offseason.
"I flourish in any defense," Smith said. "It don't matter. Just line me up and tell me a play, and I'm there."
Playing in new coach Matt Eberflus' 4-3 scheme should allow for Smith to make even more plays in 2022.
"It's definitely sweet," Smith said. "It allows you to play in space more. And I feel like that's one of my biggest attributes, playing in space, vision."
A big season for Smith could bring about another staredown with the front office, which could use the franchise tag to keep the linebacker in Chicago another season.
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