Roquan Smith thanks Bears, Chicago in farewell letter before Ravens debut

Roquan thanks Bears, Chicago in letter before Ravens debut originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

Roquan Smith will make his debut for the Baltimore Ravens on Monday night against the New Orleans Saints.

Before starting his next NFL chapter, Smith posted a thank you letter to all those who made his time with the Bears memorable.

The Bears traded Smith last Monday in exchange for a 2023 second-round pick, 2023 fifth-round pick, and linebacker A.J. Klein.

Bears general manager Ryan Poles pointed to the break down in contract negotiations with Smith as a reason that a once-central figure in his rebuild was now in Baltimore.

"There's part of me that's bummed because this was a guy that I thought was going to be here for a long time," Poles said. "I felt like we put a lot of effort forward to get that done, and we came up short. We couldn't find common ground. And that's just a part of this business, which I think we all understand."

Smith demanded a trade in August, but Poles declined in hopes he and the star linebacker could come to a long-term agreement.

In the end, Smith valued himself differently than the Bears' new regime, especially in the WILL linebacker position in head coach Matt Eberflus' defense.

“We always base things on numbers and production, and to us, we covet ball production in that position,” Eberflus said. “That right there is a very important thing that WILL linebacker needs to do.”

RELATED: How Roquan went from rebuild centerpiece to traded

Smith should thrive in the Ravens' defense. They'll ask him to do what he's best at -- be a downhill tackling machine.

The Bears, meanwhile, will have to go back to the drawing board as they search for a long-term answer at the vital WILL linebacker position.

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