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Bears’ Roquan Smith has a chip on his shoulder

The young linebacker is aiming to move past a trying sophomore season. Meanwhile, Buster Skrine embraces a leadership role.

Detroit Lions v Chicago Bears Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images

Roquan Smith has always been a gifted football player. A linebacker with an impeccable nose for the ball and even better closing speed, one look at the 23-year-old is all anyone needs to see that he belongs at the highest levels of the game. Tailor-made for football’s rigors, demands, structure, he’s a natural. As talented as Smith is, a variety of injury issues unfortunately plagued last year’s follow-up campaign to a sharp rookie season. Even when healthy, he wasn’t quite the same human missile blowing up plays before they had a chance to get started. He wasn’t attacking formations with a controlled abandon. He wasn’t running stride for stride with athletic running backs and tight ends. He wasn’t Roquan Smith.

An off-season of personal, social, and global turmoil can do a lot to shift one’s perspective. It widens your horizons. More importantly, it lets you refocus. After undergoing surgery to repair a torn pectoral muscle in the winter, Smith took some time for himself. He recalibrated his priorities, took a deep breath (or two), and set his sights back on his primary ambition: Being the complete superstar he knows he’s capable of transforming into.

Wednesday saw Smith, along with Buster Skrine and Demetrius Harris, shed light on some of their personal struggles, the ongoing national conversation, and how they’ve kept busy this spring.

Roquan Smith

Buster Skrine

Demetrius Harris

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