Smith Among Best Alabama Linemen

Earlier this year, 'BAMA Magazine continued a long tradition of having its readers select the Alabama Team of the Decade. The team was previously announced, but this summer we are revisiting and taking a deeper look at those selected. Linebacker Rolando McClain was the Player of the Decade.

Readers of 'BAMA Magazine had the opportunity to select four offensive linemen in addition to a center when they chose the Alabama football Team of the Decade for the first ten years of the New Millennium (2000-2009). One of those selected was Andre Smith of Birmingham, who played for the Crimson Tide 2006-08.

One of the greatest offensive linemen in Alabama history, Andre Smith won the 2008 Outland Trophy as the nation's outstanding lineman. He was a three-year starter for the Crimson Tide at the critical left tackle position. Smith was the only player in the nation to be a finalist for both the Outland and the Lombardi awards.

He was a unanimous All-America as a junior (his final season before going to the NFL as a first round draft choice) and won the Jacobs Award as the best blocker in the SEC in his sophomore season. He had 38 career starts, including starting the first game of his freshman year, the seventh player in Alabama history to start his first game as a freshman.

He was named Offensive Player of the Year by the Bama coaching staff as a junior.

Smith was not a unanimous choice for the Team of the Decade, almost certainly because of the way he left the team. Alabama fans understand players leaving after their junior seasons for pro football, but Smith was suspended from the team just prior to the Sugar Bowl, and the suspension was thought to be because Smith or his family had dealings with an agent. His suspension disrupted the team just before the Sugar Bowl, an embarrassment at the hands of Utah.

He now plays for the Cincinnati Bengals after being a first round draft pick, the sixth player taken overall.

Editor's Note: This is one in a series on members of the Alabama Team of the Decade.

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