Chicago Bears linebacker Roquan Smith appreciated the chance to display his speed on the field Friday at rookie minicamp.
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, it let him leave behind an unwanted distraction. A man was arrested Thursday for breaking into Smith’s car at the University of Georgia and taking several items, including a Bears-issued iPad containing a playbook.
”Everything happens for a reason,” Smith said. ”I learned from it, I’m just grateful of the police in Athens and also in Summerville for doing what they did.”
Smith, drafted No. 8 overall, reported several items taken from his car over the weekend including the iPad and jerseys from the Rose Bowl and national championship game.
According to Athens-Clarke County police, Georgia student Landyn Shane Durham was charged Thursday with felony suspicion of entering an automobile in relation to the incident. Although the iPad wasn’t recovered, the Bears were able to wipe out the information on it.
Asked if the team issued him a new iPad, Smith added, ”I should be having one pretty soon.”
Smith would have rather been in the spotlight for his play and not for leaving his iPad/playbook in a car.
”Oh well things change, you just live and you learn and you just have to grow,” he said. ”I feel like it’s all just part of growing up.”
It created an unexpected situation for new Bears coach Matt Nagy to address at rookie camp.
”It’s a wakeup call to all the guys that you always want to take care of your stuff as much as you can,” Nagy said. ”Some stuff is out of your control. I thought he did a great job of handling the situation and thanking people for helping him, and it’s unfortunately a part of life but he handled it the right way. He’s a great kid and hopefully it doesn’t happen again.”
On the field, Smith’s introduction to pro football has been what he anticipated.
”It’s ball,” Smith said. ”There’s no school and everything like that. It’s just pretty much ball. I actually love it. You just focus on ball. You’re just here with your teammates. And you can just be the best possible you can be.
”You don’t have many distractions, unless you have some.”
The Bears used Smith in practice at left inside linebacker, a spot where Jerrell Freeman played before being released in the offseason. Smith will be competing for a starting spot with third-year linebacker Nick Kwiatkoski.
The defensive emphasis is on speed, and it’s an area the Bears bolstered in the draft with Smith and also his new roommate, fourth-round linebacker Joel Iyiegbuniwe of Western Kentucky.
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, Smith didn’t come in talking about being a starter or Pro Bowl player. He said he’ll play special teams if asked.
”Just because you’re the No. 8 pick in the draft doesn’t mean you just walk into this thing,” Nagy said. ”You’ve got to earn it. We’ve made that clear to everybody on this team.
”Competition is great. He’s going to be a great teammate, he’s going to ask questions and he’s going to realize that it does need to be earned.”
Smith initially enjoyed what he saw of defensive coordinator Vic Fangio’s scheme.
”He blitzes backers, he puts them in the best possible situation to make plays,” Smith said. ”Just those two things, they alone are pretty good.”
Nagy also left an impression on rookies.
”The energy is the big thing you notice,” Iyiegbuniwe said. ”He hates pessimistic people, loves to be optimistic, good vibes, and all the players will tell you that’s what they get from him.”
Iyiegbuniwe was one of six draft picks to sign just before the camp, leaving only Smith unsigned among draft picks.
NOTES: The Bears looked at second-round pick James Daniels of Iowa at both guard and center. Second-round wide receiver Anthony Miller of Memphis participated on a limited basis while coming back from a foot injury. … There are 70 players in the camp, including undrafted free agents, tryout participants and veteran invitees like former Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray. … As a former participant in such a camp, Nagy gave some advice to his young players. ”So the biggest thing is to have no regrets,” Nagy said. ”For all of these guys when they’re out here, I don’t care if you were drafted, I don’t care if you were a free agent. When you’re out here these next three days leave it all out there on the field.”
The Oakland Raiders reached a deal with another blocking tight end, agreeing on a three-year contract to retain Lee Smith on Wednesday.
A person familiar with the deal confirmed the agreement reached on the first day of the new league year. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the signing hadn't been announced by the team. NFL Network first reported the deal.
The Raiders also were trying to lure former Green Bay star receiver Jordy Nelson, a day after he was released by the Packers. Nelson visited the team facility and Oakland hoped to get him to agree to a contract before leaving.
Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie worked in the Green Bay front office when Nelson was drafted in 2008, and Oakland wide receivers coach Edgar Bennett is a former receivers coach and offensive coordinator with the Packers.
Nelson made the Pro Bowl in 2014 and won AP Comeback Player of the Year in 2016 when he led the league with 14 touchdown catches a year after missing the entire season with a right knee injury.
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, recording a career-low 9.1 yards per reception as Aaron Rodgers missed more than half the year with injuries.
Nelson had four 1,000-yard seasons in Green Bay, including 1,519 yards on 98 catches in 2014. In 136 career games, he has 550 catches for 7,848 yards and 69 TDs.
Nelson has experience playing outside, as well as in the slot, and his addition could impact whether Michael Crabtree comes back for a fourth season in Oakland. Crabtree has a $7.7 million cap hit this season but can be cut without dead money.
The Raiders agreed to a three-year contract earlier this week with free agent Derek Carrier, a second person familiar with the deal said on Tuesday on condition of anonymity because the contract hadn't been announced.
Smith joined Oakland originally as a free agent in 2015 and has been a strong run blocker in his three years with the team. He played 35 games, missing most of the 2016 season with a leg injury. He has 26 catches for 175 yards and one touchdown with the Raiders.
The Raiders have several major holes they will look to fill in free agency starting this week as they try to rebound from a disappointing six-win season that led to the firing of coach Jack Del Rio and the move to bring Jon Gruden back for a second stint as coach.
The most glaring spots for the Raiders are on defense, where Oakland will be seeking a starting cornerback to pair with last year's first-round pick Gareon Conley. They must also decide whether to bring back middle linebacker NaVorro Bowman as a free agent or find a replacement elsewhere, and they need to upgrade the pass rush, especially at defensive tackle.
The Raiders also will likely be in the market for a possible replacement for released former starting right tackle Marshall Newhouse, and a running back if they decide not to bring Marshawn Lynch back for a second season.
NOTES: The Raiders tendered offers to all five exclusive rights free agents: LB Shilique Calhoun, LB James Cowser, S Erik Harris, OL Denver Kirkland, K Giorgio Tavecchio.