Today was supposed to be a good day for fans to see Cincinnati Bengals offensive tackle Andre Smith make his offseason debut on a football field. Smith who signed a three-year, $18 million contract after much-publicized contract dispute between he and the Bengals, failed to show up for any of the off-season team activity practices, but he was expected to make his debut today as he recovers from a calf injury.
3 of the 5 starting offensive lineman are in street clothes today – Whitworth, Andre Smith and Boling.
— Joe Danneman (@FOX19Joe) July 28, 2013
Smith opened camp on the NFI list due to a calf injury. Given Smith’s history of maintaining a healthy playing weight, the immediate concern was how out-of-shape he might be, and would it cause a dip in his performance in 2013.
Geoff Hobson earlier reported that won’t be the case:
But the word is that Smith looked in good shape and he reportedly appeared to be at around his playing weight
So why isn’t Smith on the field on the third day of practice? There are a couple of potential explanations as to why Smith isn’t practicing:
1. After a rash of injuries across the NFL, MArvin Lewis didn’t want his two best offensive lineman participating in the first full-padded practice, that will also featured the most physical football drill there is: The Oklahoma Drill.
2. Smith still isn’t 100% healed from his “apparent ” calf injury, and the Bengals aren’t taking any risks given his injury past.
3. This is the Keith Rivers situation all over again, in which he has a serious injury/problem, and the Bengals will continue to make it appear as though everything is alright until the last possible moment.
Hopefully, it isn’t the latter.