Marvin Lewis expects OT Andre Smith back next week at minicamp
With the team wrapping up their final OTAs practice on Thursday, Smith has missed the first session of the Bengals’ offseason workout program. Every other player on the roster had been present for at least part of the Bengals’ OTAs sessions.
In Smith’s absence, the Bengals turned focus towards their younger players like Reid Fragel and Tanner Hawkinsons. This offseason experience will be valuable for the youngsters while providing the coaching staff with starting material to evaluate their performances and potential talents.
But the Bengals expect Smith to be part of their next offseason workout program, which happens to be the mandatory minicamp. Coach Marvin Lewis said that he expects Smith to be back next week, in time for mandatory minicamp.
The Bengals re-signed Smith to a three-year, $18.1 million contract during the 2013 NFL draft. Bringing back Smith was a priority for the Bengals this offseason in their efforts to keep the offensive line intact. The former first-rounder Smith has become a consistent starter on the Bengals’ front line over the past two seasons and has developed into arguably one of the better right tackles in the league.
However, it remains to be seen if Smith has been able to remain in NFL shape, after staying away from team workouts so far this offseason.
“You just hope ... he's doing everything that needs to be done to get ready for the season,” Cincinnati fellow offensive line bookend Andrew Whitworth addressed Smith’s absence from the team’s OTA sessions. “As long as he's doing that this is optional time and it's his choice to be here or not be here.”
But since Smith signed his contract with the Bengals earlier this offseason, he could be subject to fines for not failing to show up to the mandatory minicamp while also putting his $100,000 workout bonus in jeopardy.