Bears LB Roquan Smith fights tears, exits news conference after learning of Robert Quinn trade

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The Philadelphia Eagles surprised many with their trade for Chicago Bears pass-rusher Robert Quinn on Wednesday, but few were hit as hard as Quinn's teammate Roquan Smith.

Smith had been speaking with reporters when he was told the veteran had been traded. After being asked for his opinion on Quinn's three-year tenure in Chicago, Smith struggled for words before requesting a moment to gather his thoughts.

The news conference eventually ended with a tearful Smith, who has seen his own trade rumors (and demands), putting his head in his T-shirt, then walking away.

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"Yeah, man. Sucks," Smith said. "I have a great deal of respect for that guy. Man, crazy."

Smith, a former first-round pick, and Quinn have been teammates since the Bears signed Quinn to a five-year, $70 million contract in the 2020 offseason. After a quiet first season in Chicago, Quinn broke out with a franchise-record 18.5 sacks plus 17 tackles for loss last season, earning him his third career Pro Bowl nod and second-team All-Pro honors.

Clearly, the 32-year-old Quinn had a significant influence on his younger teammate, and likely quite a few others. Trades have become so ingrained in modern sports that it's easy to forget these are humans who are being moved around, with relationships that will never be the same again.

It's also quite likely Smith could be confronting the fact that a trade may be in his own immediate future. At 3-4 with a rookie head coach and young quarterback, it should be no surprise the Bears are getting into sell mode, and few assets will be as movable as Smith, a two-time second-team All-Pro set to hit free agency this offseason after contract extension negotiations fell through last offseason.

The NFL trade deadline remains Tuesday, Nov. 1 at 4 p.m. ET, two days after the Bears are scheduled to face the Dallas Cowboys.

FOXBOROUGH, MA - OCTOBER 24: Roquan Smith #58 of the Chicago Bears stretches prior to an NFL football game against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium on October 24, 2022 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Kevin Sabitus/Getty Images)
Roquan Smith clearly thought highly of Robert Quinn, whom the Bears have traded to the Eagles. (Photo by Kevin Sabitus/Getty Images)