Something isn’t right with Roquan Smith. The Chicago Bears inside linebacker seemed fine at the start of the 2019 season. He was playing well, making tackles and on top of everything. Then before a game against the Minnesota Vikings, he was mysteriously deactivated for “personal issues.” There were theories as to why. Some thought he might’ve been in a car accident the night before the game. Others thought it may have had something to do with the Bears’ throwback uniforms which had a history steeped in segregation.

Others wondered if it was a mental health issue. That idea began to gain some traction when teammate Prince Amukamara made a random post on Instagram showing a cartoon with balls labeled “Anxiety” and “Stress” and “Doubt” chained to his legs. Some wondered if he was hinting without saying outright that Smith, who was under the media microscope, might be dealing with depression issues.

Smith eventually did return to the lineup, refusing to explain why he was out. However, he hasn’t looked anything like the player he was last month. He’s out of position a lot, isn’t showing the same instincts, and is uncharacteristically missing tackles. He looks like a shell of himself. Now, if that weren’t concerning enough, Smith added fuel to the fire when he sent out this troubling tweet.

Bears may want to consider shutting Roquan Smith down

As somebody who has dealt with depression many times, it is not some shallow matter to just shrug off. It’s very real and dangerous if not taken seriously. Smith, presuming this theory is true, may insist to everybody that he’s fine but it’s becoming clearer by the day that he is anything but. He isn’t playing at his customary level and now he’s sending off tweets referencing the idea of death. That is a gigantic red flag.

The Bears have trusted him this far but there comes a time when it must be taken out of the player’s hands on determining whether they’re healthy. Not just physically but mentally as well. As hurt as the Bears defense already is, the best course of action may involve shutting Smith down until they can determine exactly what’s wrong.