Moving trucks backed up to the Bears locker room Sunday before the final practice at Olivet Nazarene University. For parts of five weeks, coach Matt Nagy’s team worked here to forge an identity — creative and diverse on offense and tough and assignment-sound on defense. That process continues as the Bears transition to the second phase of the preseason.
To that end, the convoy pulled out of Bourbonnais, Ill., with a lighter load than the team had hoped. They moved only 89 players back to team headquarters in Lake Forest, Ill. Training camp came and went with one glaring absence from the 90-man roster.
Roquan Smith’s holdout continues. Another milestone was crossed off the calendar Sunday with the rookie linebacker away from the team.
There are no indications Smith and the Bears are having productive negotiations to solve the impasse about whether the team could reclaim his guaranteed money if he were suspended for an on-field rule violation outside the parameters of a football play.
Although that could change at any time, realistic speculation about Smith’s arrival shifts to the start of the regular season instead of whether he might play in any of the Bears’ three remaining exhibitions.
That was reflected in a line of questioning to Nagy about whether Smith’s absence from camp could limit him in the Sept. 9 opener at the Packers.
“I would say so,” Nagy said. “I think it does. You’re playing at that position, and there are a lot of calls that go on. Very similar to a quarterback, there’s a lot going on.”
Nagy went on to express confidence that defensive coordinator Vic Fangio and his staff would get Smith up to speed.
“Whenever that is, we’ll see,” Nagy said.
At this point, it would be surprising if Smith remained unsigned for any part of the regular season. He would have to be willing to forfeit game checks, and the Bears would have to accept missing out on his production in games that count.
JAGUARS: Jacksonville suspended All-Pro cornerback Jalen Ramsey and defensive end Dante Fowler on Sunday for violating team rules and conduct unbecoming a Jaguars football player.
Neither one will make the trip to Minnesota on Tuesday for two days of joint practices and a preseason game. The teams play Saturday.
Fowler was involved in several fights Sunday, including one after practice with fellow defensive end Yannick Ngakoue. Ramsey shouted profanities at media members who captured the altercation on video and later threatened reporters with “war” for releasing the video. Ramsey made his threat via Twitter.
The team released a one-sentence statement Sunday evening announcing the suspensions. Coach Doug Marrone is expected to address the decision Tuesday.
EAGLES: Philadelphia signed quarterback Christian Hackenberg and waived rookie offensive lineman Ian Park.
Hackenberg was selected in the second round of the NFL draft by the New York Jets in 2016 but didn’t play in a game. He was traded to Oakland in May for a conditional 2019 draft pick and was released two weeks later.
The Eagles already have plenty of quarterback but Hackenberg gives them another arm in camp while Carson Wentz continues his recovery following surgery to repair two torn knee ligaments. Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles missed practices last week but returned Saturday. Nate Sudfeld and Joe Callahan took the snaps in the preseason opener.
Hackenberg starred at Penn State but his NFL career has been disappointing.
VIKINGS 42, BRONCOS 28: Kirk Cousins was perfect in his cameo, and then kicked back and watched two former Broncos quarterbacks tear apart their old teammates.
Cousins completed all four of his passes in the Vikings’ 42-28 exhibition victory Saturday night at Denver, including a 1-yard touchdown strike on a quick slant to Stefon Diggs .
“I think it was a smooth first drive but it is a small sample size and the next couple of weeks will be a good test for us,” Cousins said.
Diggs called it a good first step.
“He’s a good quarterback,” Diggs said. “He makes some great throws.”
Case Keenum wasn’t nearly as sharp in his Denver debut, completing just 1 of 4 passes for 5 yards spanning two drives.