The Bengals have high hopes for second-year ORT Andre Smith. Head coach Marvin Lewis, speaking at the Combine, said that Smith's ability to work with the club in the offseason will help "immensely." Smith had surgery on his left foot in February, but the procedure was not regarded as serious, and he is expected to be able to participate in the club's OTAs starting in May.
"We took some dramatic steps to make sure it was not a lingering issue this coming fall," Lewis said. "At this point, everything has gone very, very well, and he's on schedule, which is good. He was still having some pain at some different times last season that he wouldn't admit to very often to many people, but we wanted to get it addressed. We had him looked at by a lot of foot specialists, and they all recommended that he get this addressed."
Added Lewis: "He has matured a lot. He got his nose wet, just barely, in NFL football. He liked it and he sees how effective he can be, and if he wants to achieve the greatness that he can, he has to keep his nose to the grindstone."
Smith held out for all of training camp last season, and the left foot injury stifled his progress once he finally signed. However, he's the overwhelming favorite to start at right tackle this season. If Smith develops the way the Bengals hope, the club will have enviable depth at tackle, with Dennis Roland and Anthony Collins sliding into reserve roles.
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