Smith Goes Through Paces For NFL Men

By all accounts, Andre made amends with the pro football community. Although specific numbers were hard to come by immediately following Pro Day in the indoor football facility at Alabama Wednesday, it appeared that Andre Smith was in good shape.

It was definitely Andre Smith Day as a gaggle of pro scouts, agents, media, trainers and others watched National Football League men put some 10 2008 Alabama football players through their paces Wednesday. It was a particularly important day for Smith, Alabama's All-America tackle who seemingly had run off the tracks in the past couple of months.

Smith, an outstanding left tackle who won the Outland Award as the nation's best lineman, disappointed Alabama when he was suspended for the Sugar Bowl game against Utah. As expected, he announced he would not return to Bama for his senior season. When he went to the NFL Combine in Indianapolis he created an uproar when he left, failing to work out for the pro scouts.

Smith did work out in Tuscaloosa Wednesday, along with nine of his 2008 teammates, Matt Caddell of the 2007 team, and a few others.

The 6-4 Smith reported at 325 pounds, well below many estimates.

There were mixed reports on his workout performance, but in at least one drill he received very positive feedback from the NFL men running the tests. "Awesome," one said, giving Andre a thumbs-up after an agility drill.

He ran the 40-yard dash (his only reported time was 5.2 seconds). He looked good on the cones (7.88 seconds was a time reported) and on the short shuttle run. He was not as impressive in the weight room. He did 19 bench press repetitions with 225 pounds. His offensive line teammates did better—Antoine Caldwell at 23 and Marlon Davis at 22.

Following his workout, Smith met with representatives of the NFL teams. All 32 teams sent representatives.

Smith had a smile on his face as he reported that he thought he did well. He said that he was the lightest he has been in a long time. And he said he regretted that he had left the NFL Combine the way he did, but that he had moved on from that.

One agent said, "I've never seen anything like the turnout for one player. And I've never seen an entourage like that: agent, lawyer, financial advisor, trainer; he's even got a hamstring-stretcher."

Smith's agent, Alvin Keels, was upbeat. He said Smith left the NFL combine in Indianapolis because of a "miscommunication" that Keels said was his fault. He said Smith is anxious to do all he could to prove he is ready to play. And the agent thinks the NFL teams will be on board with Smith.

"If you ask his (Alabama) coaches, you will hear them say that Andre brings it every day, every play, that he is a wonderful person and player. I'm glad it (the combine fiasco) happened in February so we had time to overcome the perception."

He said he expected NFL teams to consider "the whole body of work."

Although Keels did not want to predict when Smith would be drafted, he said, "I think it would be a mistake for any team that has a chance to draft Andre Smith to skip past him. I think he's going to be a Pro-Bowler for many years. He can be the cornerstone of someone's football program."

BamaMag Top Stories