The seemingly endless saga surrounding Bengals rookie OT Andre Smith has come full circle.
According to the NFL Players Association, Smith re-hired agent Alvin Keels late last week, roughly one month after firing him before the April draft.
Keels confirmed the reunion Wednesday night.
Smith, the sixth overall selection from Alabama, re-joins Keels after weeks of working with agent Rick Smith, who recently was fired after helping rehabilitate the player’s image following a series of pre-draft missteps that slightly damaged the Outland Trophy winner’s draft stock.
The changing of agents typically doesn’t generate much news, but Smith’s back-and-forth with agents follows his suspension from Alabama’s bowl game, his unexpected departure from the draft combine and a marginal pro-day workout. Smith’s actions damaged his stellar resume as college football’s top offensive tackle and prompted red flags among teams.
Keels put several measures in place to steer Smith back on course but was fired just before the draft. The hiring of Rick Smith was viewed by some NFL teams as a move to further enhance Andre Smith’s image.
This latest change of representation isn’t expected to have an immediate impact on the Bengals’ rookie, especially in terms of contract negotiations. However, Rick Smith has expressed dissatisfaction with Andre Smith’s decision to terminate him.
Keels has said he maintained his relationship with Andre Smith even after being fired and that they have remained amicable.
– Steve Wyche