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Tackle prospect Andre Smith bails on NFL Combine
Posted: February 21, 2009
Sporting News staff reports

Andre Smith, one of the three top offensive tackles available in April's NFL draft, left the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis on Saturday without informing officials of his plans.

Smith left Saturday morning and later apologized for his departure, ProFootballTalk.com reported. The NFL had sent out what amounted to a search party to look for Smith, who was to begin his push to be a high first-round pick with testing at Indianapolis.

Smith decided to skip his Combine workout and returned to Alabama. He and his agent neglected to inform the NFL of the decision.

It's a questionable move for Smith, who had several questions to answer at the Combine. Many of them involve why Alabama coaches suspended him for the Tide's appearance in the Sugar Bowl. Smith admitted he wasn't in shape for the workouts, hadn't been preparing for them and had recently changed agents, which contributed to the confusion.

Smith was believed to be a top-10 pick entering the Combine and was expected to compete with Eugene Monroe of Virginia and Baylor's Jason Smith to be the first tackle taken. SN's War Room scouts project the St. Louis Rams taking a tackle with the second overall pick. The Rams appear focused on Monroe.

According to an announcement inside Lucas Oil Stadium for the benefit of scouts in attendance, Smith's whereabouts were unknown for a time Saturday morning. About 30 minutes before he was scheduled to work out, he was located.

Repercussions were immediate.

"I'm dropping him down on my list," NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock told ProFootballTalk.com. "You don't show up in shape for the biggest job interview of your life. You don't lift. You don't run. You don't show up. It's the worst thing you can do. How can you not show up in shape for this?"

Former NFL GM Charley Casserly also was critical of Smith.

"He's not the first player who has left the Combine early; that's fairly common if they're not going to work out," Casserly told ProFootballTalk.com. "A lack of communication, that's not good. To fly back to work out, I'm not buying it. He could be here and be around. This is not good.

"A team told me this morning that this guy has not been the best worker. The thing that bothers me is I've seen how (Alabama coach) Nick Saban runs his programs and how hard he works those guys and challenges those guys. How far (Smith will) drop in the draft, you don't want to throw him out because the guy has a lot of ability."

Mayock is skeptical about Smith's desire and maturity.

"The minute he got away from the Saban umbrella, look what happened," Mayock said.

Smith had been booked on a 4 p.m. ET flight but moved it up himself to 6 a.m. so he could get back to work out with his trainer and continue preparations for his March 11 Pro Day at Alabama, the NFL Network's Adam Schefter reported. There's no question there will be added pressure on Smith to excel at that gathering.

Meanwhile, Smith and his handlers shifted into damage control mode. His agent, Alvin Kells, took the blame for failure to inform NFL officials. And Smith eventually held himself accountable.

"If I had the chance to do it all over, I wouldn't have handled it the way I did," Smith told Schefter later Saturday. "I should have told my group leader that I was leaving, and I didn't. I didn't mean to ruffle any feathers or step on any toes. I didn't mean to grandstand anyone at the combine. That was not my intention at all, and I apologize for my mistake."

Smith sat out the Sugar Bowl for a violation of team rules. Reports say he was suspended because he had dealings with an agent other than Kells, whom he hired recently.

Smith left Alabama a year early to enter the draft.

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Comments
Should have taken lessons from Jake Long
Mroz99 on Sun Feb 22, 2009 12:03 am
Andre Smith blew it in a big way. He is going to be compared to Jake Long. Last year, Long worked out hard before the combine. Came there and performed well but more importantly, showed his character and work ethic. Smith is showing his character too. Get kicked off the team, don't work out, show up out of shape not willing to workout, then leave. Really makes you want to shell out $50 million.
TX_LoneStar1 on Sun Feb 22, 2009 01:22 am
What a shame. He was clearly a top 10 pick and who knows how far he will drop now. As reported on Rotoworld, sources also say he interviewed very badly before he left the combine and also dressed "inappropriately". This is going to cost him millions of dollars.
Vol85Blog on Sun Feb 22, 2009 01:55 am
What a dumb@ss.
scurdsBlog on Sun Feb 22, 2009 07:48 am
Listen Smith, if your going to quit your football career, wait until AFTER you sign the contract and put some $$$ in the bank
BiggEBlog on Sun Feb 22, 2009 08:05 am
this guy has some serious mental issues and the scouts better take a good hard look at his character rather than his play
SMITH CAME OUT TO EARLY.
bigpossum3Blog on Sun Feb 22, 2009 08:20 am
Sounds like a case of immateurity to me. Can he now get back in the NCAA? If he can he should because this really hurts him. He needs a better agent too.
Re: SMITH CAME OUT TO EARLY.
tm33_08Blog on Sun Feb 22, 2009 08:25 am
bigpossum3 wrote:
Sounds like a case of immateurity to me. Can he now get back in the NCAA? If he can he should because this really hurts him. He needs a better agent too.


He won't get back in. He's hired an agent, and the Mike Williams case set the precedent. Williams even had extenuating circumstances that had everyone besides the reinstatement board voting to let him back in, and he still didn't make it. Smith doesn't have any chance for it.
LAZY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
IRISH33 on Sun Feb 22, 2009 09:04 am
Any team that picks this bum should have their head examined. He was suspended for the Sugar Bowl and shows up out of shape for the combine, ARE YOU KIDDING ME??????? This KID will be cancer to any team that choses him. He is L-A-Z-Y and is not a team player which equals disaster.
ask tommy blake
DALLAS8COWBlog on Sun Feb 22, 2009 09:36 am
if andre smith doesn't think his final days in college is important and they go by past performances,just ask tommy blake from t.c.u
but can he actually block anybody
gg1956 on Sun Feb 22, 2009 09:45 am
perhaps his agent can help w/that too

probably already spent a gob o the cash he was going to get for being such a great professional ahtlete.

sounds like the next jim calhoun.............................
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