Alvin Keels, the agent widely blamed for not having Cincinnati Bengals first round draft pick Andre Smith properly prepared for the combine, and the NFL’s pre-draft dog-and-pony show in general, is reportedly once again Smith’s agent.
The word going around the league Tuesday is that Bengals rookie right tackle Andre Smith has gone back to the agent he fired just before the NFL Draft in Alvin Keels. One league source even said, “It’s a done deal,” but Keels declined comment in an e-mail Tuesday.
The buzz surfaced after Smith’s first workout with the Bengals’ full squad. He said after the first OTA of the spring that he had yet to decide on an agent after firing Rick Smith about three weeks after he hired him.
“It’s personal,” he said.
Smith fired Keels shortly before the NFL draft, signing instead with Priority Sports. A little more than a week ago, reports emerged that Smith was canning Priority and going back to Keels. Speculation was rampant that the pre-draft hiring of Priority was simply intended to bolster Smith’s sagging stock and that a re-hiring of Keels was planned from the start.
Keels denied that allegation.
After the Bengals voiced concerns about the switch, Smith apparently reversed course and unfired Priority. However, Keels twittered that he was still in the mix and fighting for Smith’s business. Which brings us to today and, at latest report, back to Alvin Keels.
If true, it’s worrisome news. Priority has a history with the Bengals, having repped Levi Jones. Keels, meanwhile, is in the midst of a holdout mess with the Jets over RB Leon Washington.