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Roquan Smith ends holdout, signs contract


Roquan Smith's contract holdout is officially over.

The impasse between the Bears and their first-round draft pick ended Tuesday after 29 days when the inside linebacker from Georgia signed a four-year deal.

"We're looking forward to Roquan joining our team and getting him prepared for the 2018 season," said general manager Ryan Pace.

Smith was selected by the Bears with the eighth pick in the NFL Draft. He's a speedy and tenacious sideline-to-sideline three-down defender who excels against the run as well as in pass coverage. Last season as a junior Smith was voted first-team All-American, won the Butkus Award as the nation's best linebacker and was named SEC Defensive Player of the Year.

Smith helped Georgia reach the CFP national title game last season, starting all 15 games and leading the Bulldogs with 137 tackles, 6.5 sacks, 14.0 tackles-for-loss and 20 quarterback hits. He was named MVP of the SEC Championship Game and Defensive MVP of the Rose Bowl in the CFP semifinal after registering 11 tackles in a win over Oklahoma.

Smith enhanced his already-strong draft stock at the NFL Combine, running a 4.51 in the 40-yard dash, the second fastest time among linebackers.

The 6-1, 236-pounder impressed Bears coaches and teammates during offseason workouts.

"He's fast, he's smart and he's got good instincts," defensive coordinator Vic Fangio said May 30 after an OTA practice. "Hopefully he'll be able to transfer all of that to this level as well."

After sitting out four weeks of training camp and two preseason games, Smith will now have to make up for the time he missed. Before the Bears broke camp in Bourbonnais Sunday, coach Matt Nagy acknowledged that all the practices that Smith missed would limit what he could do in the Sept. 9 regular-season opener in Green Bay.

"Yeah, I would say so," Nagy said. "I think it does. You're playing at that position and there are a lot of calls that go on, very similar to a quarterback. There's a lot going on. But I have full confidence in Vic and his staff that when [Smith] does get here, they'll get him up to speed. That's why we all get paid as coaches is to try to help our players out as much as possible."

Smith will be made available to the media today following practice at Halas Hall. will post his comments in their entirety this afternoon.

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