Oct 14, 2012; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals tackle Andre Smith (71) before the game against the Cleveland Browns at Cleveland Browns Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports
UPDATE 1:30 PM
Here is the press release from the Bengals:
"Three Bengals players were today cleared for practice after being sidelined for the opening of training camp:* TE/LS Bryce Davis comes off the Active/Non-Football Illness list.* OT Andre Smith (calf) comes off the Active/Non-Football Injury list.* WR Brandon Tate (hamstring) comes off the Active/Physically Unable to Perform list."
We “think this means that Andre Smith will finally make his 2013 debut on a football field after missing the entire offseason workout program. Then again, we’ve been duped before regarding Smith. Seemingly each time the Bengals began a new phase of OTAs, Smith was “expected” to show up, yet never did. He was “expected” to be ready for the opening of camp, but a calf injury prevented that.
And finally, Smith was expected to receive clearance to practice Sunday, yet he wasn’t. So until Smith actually practices, we’re just going to with he “might” practice today.
Whether he does practice today or not, one thing is for certain: The Bengals need a healthy Andre Smith in order to reach their ultimate potential, whatever that may be.
Smith finished the 2012 season with a +26.9 grade by Pro Football Focus, the 4th-best by an offensive tackle, and the best by a right tackle.
He was also one of the top tackles in football in 2011, but those two “good” years were after two years of weight concerns, poor conditioning, a prolonged rookie contract holdout, and multiple serious foot injuries, it was easy to see why the Bengals weren’t ready to invest a long-term contract worth $9 million annually like Smith was asking for. Backed into a corner, Smith had to take the best deal available, and it happened to be what the Bengals were offering.
Now, he’s a Bengals for the foreseeable future, but it certainly hasn’t gotten off to a great start.