Getty Roquan Smith of the Baltimore Ravens.

Baltimore Ravens linebacker Roquan Smith appears to be extremely relieved that he is no longer playing for the Chicago Bears.

Last season, Bears general manager Ryan Poles traded Smith to the Ravens for second- and fifth-round picks. Since arriving in Baltimore, Smith has continued his outstanding play and was named first-team All-Pro for the first time in 2022. Last year he was also selected to the Pro Bowl for the first time.

In an interview with Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated on November 6, Smith spoke candidly and bluntly about his time in the Windy City. It’s clear he’s happy to be in Baltimore now.

“Man, it’s pretty crazy when I think back to when I first got traded,” Smith told Breer. “It was bittersweet for me knowing Chicago, and rightly so. But if I had stayed there, honestly, [I] would not have been able to compete for a title so quickly. And then when I got here, it took me a while, like a couple of weeks, to really realize how strong this team was, how many good people there are on this team and how they just bring really good people.”

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Roquan Smith: I’m glad my career isn’t going down the drain

One year ago today, the Ravens acquired Roquan Smith from the Bears for a 2nd round pick, a 5th round pick and AJ Klein

The move worked in every way, with Smith providing incredible play and leadership on the field while fitting in seamlessly

— Kevin Oestreicher (@koestreicher34) October 31, 2023

The Bears selected Smith with the eighth overall pick in the 2018 draft. He spent his first four seasons in Chicago, and at the start of fifth grade he stayed away from training camp in hopes of negotiating a new contract extension. That didn’t happen.

Instead, tensions arose between Smith and Poles, who was in his first year as the Bears’ GM. Smith publicly requested a trade in August 2022 after negotiations stalled, and the Poles did not grant that request until after the October 31 trade deadline.

Now, more than a year later, Smith, whose Ravens sit atop the competitive AFC North with a 7-2 record, is happy to be playing for a consistent winner.

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“Just thinking about it from the perspective of having the opportunity to compete year in and year out with the talent we have. Man, it makes me so happy just knowing that my career isn’t going down the drain in the sense that I’m playing somewhere where I’m not really competing for a title,” Smith told Breer.

The Ravens LB is right. The Bears are once again one of the worst teams in the NFL this season. After finishing with a league-low 3-14 last year, Chicago currently sits in last place in the NFC North at 2-7. The Bears haven’t won a playoff game since the 2010 postseason. The Ravens have missed the playoffs just once in the last five years and last won a postseason game in 2020.

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