CINCINNATI – Right tackle Andre Smith said Monday he felt fine despite some rustiness after being on a football field with his teammates for the first time since last January’s playoff loss at Houston. Smith, the Bengals’ No. 1 draft choice in 2009, had missed all of the team’s offseason workouts, including a mandatory minicamp, as he was dealing with some undisclosed personal issues.
The lone appearance for Smith in Cincinnati over the offseason was when he came to town to sign a three-year contract on April 26.
Smith started training camp on the Active/Non-Football injury list with a calf injury. This was the fourth time in five seasons that Smith missed the start of camp but he appears to be in good shape. He weighed in at 342 pounds when he reported to camp last Wednesday, just slightly above his listed weight of 335.
“My wind is great. My wind is doing really well. I’m really excited about that,” said Smith. “I just have to continue to work on my technique, sharpen up some things and play even faster.”
The Bengals also activated long snapper Bryce Davis from the Active/Non-Football Illness list and wide receiver Brandon Tate from the Active/Physically Unable to Perform list. Wide receiver Tyrone Goard came off the Active/PUP list on Sunday.
Smith has started 30 games the last two seasons, plus both playoff games, after being limited by weight and injury troubles his first two seasons. He took some good-natured ribbing throughout the practice about finally making it to a practice.
“It was good to have him back out there. I forgot what he looks like in a uniform. Now I remember: ugly,” said offensive coordinator Jay Gruden. “He didn’t take as many reps as he normally would, but he looks great. Just seeing him for the first time when he came back for training camp, I thought he looked totally different. I just thought he looked stronger, bigger. It’s hard for him to be bigger, but he looked more defined and muscular. I think I took some of his fat and he took some of my muscle.”
Smith said he’s up to speed on the offensive installation Gruden has implemented the first five days of training camp.
“I want to be a well-rounded offensive lineman and be great in everything as far as run blocking, double-teaming, one-on-one pass rush and double-teaming with the tight end,” said Smith. “I just want to be a dominant player.”