Bengals rookie Smith opts not to fire agent

Cincinnati Bengals offensive tackle Andre Smith has decided not to fire agent Rick Smith after a conversation Wednesday morning, Rick Smith said.

“Our relationship is as strong as it ever was,” Smith said. “Andre Smith is a good kid and he’s always been a good kid and now we’re looking forward to moving forward and getting Andre to Cincinnati May 19,” for offseason workouts.

Andre Smith was on the verge of firing Smith Tuesday and appeared set to re-hire Alvin Keels, who was Andre Smith’s original agent. Keels was fired by Andre Smith shortly before the draft and replaced by Rick Smith.

Andre Smith, who was drafted sixth overall by Cincinnati, went through a turbulent “24 to 48” hours early this week, according to Rick Smith, but Andre Smith fully committed to the working relationship.

This is just the latest episode in a strange few months for Smith, the University of Alabama standout who was selected as the Outland Trophy winner for being the nation’s top offensive lineman in 2008. He was suspended for Alabama’s Sugar Bowl game for unspecified reasons, then, after deciding to bypass his senior season for the NFL, he further raised red flags among NFL clubs for leaving the draft combine unannounced before he was set to work out.

Smith hired Keels shortly before the combine and Keels took the blame for the mishap in Indianapolis. Smith began to restore his image after a marginal pro day workout but fired Keels nonetheless just more than a week before the draft.

— Steve Wyche

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