ENGLEWOOD, Colo—Today, the Denver Broncos kick off organized team activities and they will do so without one of their veteran leaders—Antonio Smith—who has been excused by the team for personal reasons, as the investigation into child abuse allegations against him continues, according to Mike Klis of 9News.
In the wake of the Ray McDonald case, and the Ray Rice and Adrian Peterson off-the-field scandals, John Elway is taking a preemptive precaution to insulate the team, should any merit to these allegations against Smith be found.
After Broncos General Manager John Elway consulted with Head Coach Gary Kubiak and President Joe Ellis - and after the team held several discussions with Smith - it was collectively decided it would be best for all involved if the player took time away from the team to focus on resolving his legal situation.
It’s important to point out that at this stage, no charges have been filed against Smith. The alleged child abuse is of a sexual nature and of course, any such allegation into the abuse of a minor warrants the utmost scrutiny from the authorities.
Losing Smith hurts, as he is one of the few Broncos veterans with experience playing in Wade Phillips’ 3-4 scheme. Smith is known throughout the league as “one of the good guys” and has a penchant and reputation for being a selfless teacher.
Although Smith knew about these allegations before he signed his one-year, $2M deal with the Broncos, he clearly did not mention it to the team. If Smith gets indicted, the Broncos can part ways with him relatively painlessly, as only $500,000 of his deal is guaranteed.
If that happens, the team could always look at taking action to recover the sum, however, at that point, they’ll likely be more interested in moving on from the drama, especially since $500K in salary cap ramifications isn’t much to write home about.
Today, Gary Kubiak confirmed the team decision, in conjuction with Smith, to excuse him from OTAs, so that he can "focus all his time and energy toward this situation". He sounded optimistic that there would be a resolution to the investigation soon.
“It’s our understanding, and I don’t know that I’m right, but it’s our understanding that maybe we’ll have some answers here in a week or two," Kubiak said. "And I hope that’s the case.”