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Bears rookie linebacker Roquan Smith provided good news Wednesday morning.

Smith, the victim of theft over the past weekend in Athens, Ga., said in a video posted on his Twitter page that a majority of his personal belongings were recovered and returned to his possession.

“I would personally like to thank everyone for their kind words and prayers as Athens-Clarke County Police Department worked very hard to identify the individual responsible for this,” Smith said on Twitter. “It was definitely huge. I would also like to thank many of you that spread information on various social media outlets.

“Due to the prompt attention by the Athens-Clarke County Police Department, I was able to recover most of my items as well as the individual being identified. Just like to thank you guys so much.”

 

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Smith, the Bears’ first-round pick of the 2018 NFL Draft, reported the theft late Saturday night and numerous items, including a team-issued iPad, were taken from his 2018 BMW X5. The Bears on Tuesday told NFL.com that the iPad was wiped clean remotely, which resulted in no compromise of team information.

The other items of note reported stolen included Smith’s Rose Bowl and national championship game jerseys, a 2017 University of Georgia football helmet, a Georgia “Athlete of the Year” trophy, four pairs of Bose headphones, a Bose Bluetooth speaker, two watches (Michael Kors and KYBOE), a pair of Costa sunglasses and a pair of Nike athletic shoes.

The Athens-Clarke County police department confirmed Wednesday morning with NFL.com that everything was recovered except the iPad.

A suspect has been identified, but the police did not release the name.

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When the Pittsburgh Steelers selected Mason Rudolph in the third round of the 2018 NFL Draft last weekend, it appeared that Pittsburgh was finally selecting the heir to Ben Roethlisberger.

After all, Pittsburgh’s confidence in Rudolph is well-documented now — Steelers GM Kevin Colbert said Rudolph was considered by Pittsburgh in “the group of the top quarterbacks” — and Big Ben, 36, isn’t getting any younger.
But the future Hall of Fame quarterback put a halt Tuesday to talk of Rudolph succeeding him in the next two to three years.

“Well, that’s fine. He can do that,” Roethlisberger told Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette about Rudolph eventually taking the reins under center. “But I plan on playing for three to five more years, depending on how the line goes and staying healthy, if I can stay healthy.

“If he’s going to be their guy, that’s great, but in my perfect world it’s not going to be for a while.”

Roethlisberger did hedge his desire to play half a decade more, adding that he’ll still evaluate the length of his career year by year.

“I’ll still take it one year at a time and give it everything I have that one year,” Roethlisberger added, “but that’s what I felt comfortable in telling [the front office].”

A chronic retirement-waffler, this is the first time Big Ben has said outright that he sees himself playing into his 40s. If Roethlisberger plays another five years, he will be 41 at retirement; Patriots quarterback Tom Brady will be 41 by this season’s kickoff.
Rudolph is the latest in a short line of quarterbacks selected at the tail-end of Big Ben’s career who could be considered his heir apparent. The Oklahoma State product joins a QB room already populated by 2013 fourth-round pick Landry Jones and 2017 fourth-rounder Joshua Dobbs, both of whom have combined for just five starts in relief of Roethlisberger. Since Big Ben joined the team in 2004, Pittsburgh also selected 2006 fifth-round pick Omar Jacobs and 2008 fifth-rounder Dennis Dixon.

Rudolph is the highest QB selected by Pittsburgh since Big Ben’s ascendance. Does that make it Roethlisberger’s responsibility to tutor the young thrower?

“You know he’s able to play,” Big Ben said of Rudolph. “Anytime you get guys to come in, you can try to teach him a little bit, it’s a good thing. I’ll do whatever I can to help. I did that with Landry and try to help Dobbs as much as I can. Landry does a great job at that, he did it last year with Dobbs. It’s kind of the backup’s role.”

With Roethlisberger still performing at a Pro Bowl level, the Steelers veteran’s leash deserves to be very long in Pittsburgh, but the real question is how long will he be able to hold off Rudolph?