Former Georgia football star and 2017 SEC Defensive Player of the Year Roquan Smith needed only one play in the NFL regular season to make his presence felt.
Smith checked into the Chicago Bears game against the Green Bay Packers Sunday night in the second quarter at linebacker, and on his very first play, he sacked DeShone Kizer.
— NFL (@NFL) September 10, 2018
Smith led SEC champion Georgia with 137 tackles and 6 1/2 sacks last season, spearheading the Bulldogs drive to the College Football Playoff championship game.
Georgia coach Kirby Smart has used a committee approach at inside linebacker this season, but the Bulldogs have experienced an obvious dropoff at the position.
Georgia has just one sack through two games, and Smith’s leadership has been missed in the linebacking corps and defensive huddle.
One play, one sack. We had a feeling he was kinda special. https://t.co/7U6FlgFlpH
— Georgia Football (@FootballUGA) September 10, 2018
ESPN reported that Smith was expected to be limited in the opening game on Sunday night after a hamstring injury kept him out of Chicago’s final preseason game.
Smith was the Bears first-round pick, going No. 8 overall.
Smith, however, reported late to training camp on account of a contract dispute that wasn’t resolved until Aug. 14.
According to Sports Illustrated, Smith missed 29 days, 15 practices, and two (of five) preseason games.
ESPN reported Smith’s contact is $18 million guaranteed over four years with $11 million in bonuses.
According to the ESPN report: “ Part of the reason for his holdout was language in his contract that would allow the team to reclaim guaranteed money if the linebacker is suspended under the NFL’s new helmet-contact rules, a source previously confirmed to ESPN.”
Roquan Smith with the QB sack on his first defensive snap in a regular-season NFL game …
— Mike Griffith (@MikeGriffith32) September 10, 2018