Former Bears head coach Dave Wannstedt showed up to the team’s training camp today and blasted rookie linebacker Roquan Smith, whom Wannstedt described as “selfish” for remaining unsigned, almost two weeks after the rest of the Bears’ rookies reported to camp.
“For a rookie to hold out because of some fine print, it’s pretty selfish from an agent standpoint to do that. This kid needs to be here,” Wannstedt said.
Of course, what’s “fine print” to Wannstedt could be millions of dollars to Smith, especially if the Bears are holding to the idea that they could wipe out Smith’s guarantees if he gets suspended for violating the NFL’s ill-defined rule against lowering the helmet to initiate contact. If that’s why Smith is holding out, then his agents are being prudent, not selfish.
Still, Wannstedt says a rookie needs to be in camp.
“Physically I’m sure he’s running and doing that stuff, but there’s no substitute for what they’re doing right now, for having the pads on, going through full speed drills with pads on,” Wannstedt said.
That may be true, but there are always two sides to every negotiation. Wannstedt may only see the management side because he was in management, but there’s validity to the player’s side as well.