Roquan Smith's hold-in continues in an altered and even strange format.
Smith on Thursday attended practice from the sidelines just as he had been, but this time it was a day after being removed from the physically unable to perform list and it could be costly for him.
Smith joined teammates on the sidelines after practice began, did not participate in work and coach Matt Eberflus expects him to practice now.
"Roquan Smith came off the PUP, he was cleared by our medical staff as healthy," Eberflus said. "He did not practice. And the reason why for that is, you'll have to ask him. We expect all of our healthy players to practice, and that was his decision.
"Like I said, you have to ask him. I have not talked to him about it. So I have no further comment on that situation from there."
Of course, no one can ask Smith because he isn't made available to the media unless he is practicing. This is a policy one Bears official says they adhere to, although it's really unclear this ever was a policy or if it was just made up for this moment.
Smith is under contract for this season but has been staging a hold-out until he gets a contract extension. Because he was at the facility each day, it's known as a hold-in.
Until being removed from PUP, he could stand and watch or attend meetings without being subject to fines, but after he went public Tuesday with complaints about the negotiations and asked for a trade, the team removed him from PUP. So now Smith could be fined up to $40,000 for days he spends watching instead of practicing.
"That discipline (fine) really comes from the front office," Eberflus said. "That right there we'll be in conversation with that. I'm not gonna get into the details of what discipline is there. But we will certainly work through that when the time comes."
The situation leaves Eberflus in a tough situation as he tries to walk a tight line between supporting a player and also the organization.
"For me it's about being respectful to everybody in the building," Eberflus said. "Do I certainly know what Roquan’s going through? I don't know. I'm not in his chair. I don't know that. You never put yourself in another man's shoes. His perspective may be something different. That's where he is. I'm gonna be respectful of that."
Eberflus was evasive when asked what good it did for Smith to stand out on the sideline watching practice.
"You have to ask him," Eberflus said.
There is no word of talks going on between Smith and the Bears. Smith does not have an agent and is handling it himself. After Smith's trade demand and the team's response by pulling him off the PUP list, it would seem the sides are at odds. But Eberflus thinks it can change quickly.
"Well I mean to bridge any gap you're going to need communication, right?" he said. "So that's the first step. You know I think that's, in any communication, in any relationship you need communication so I would just say that."
The Bears don't have to worry about Smith sitting out practice on Friday or until Monday. There is no practice until then. They have the first preseason game Saturday at noon against Kansas City at Soldier Field.