On the same day that Bears head coach Matt Eberflus appeared upset with linebacker Roquan Smith refusing to practice, Chargers head coach Brandon Staley took a different tack with safety Derwin James.
Staley said he’s fine with James continuing to sit out practice while he negotiates a new contract, and said that the ultimate goal for both James and the Chargers is the same, to get him on the field this season with a contract that everyone agrees is fair.
“Of course, we would like to have Derwin out there, but at the same time, as I mentioned, I think what’s most important to us is that we get the contract negotiation right,” Staley said. “First things first is just keeping the main thing, the main thing. Then, all of the football stuff will take care of itself. Derwin has been very patient through the process and he’s been a tremendous leader, like he always is, through the process. I think he’s handled it extremely well. His teammates have handled it extremely well. We’re looking for good news soon.”
While the situation between Smith and the Bears appears difficult to resolve, there’s little doubt that James and Staley will be able to work together going forward.