Bengals offensive line coach Paul Alexander assured on Saturday that when first-round pick Andre Smith arrived Sunday for his news conference that he would begin to change the perception.
And when he uttered the words, "I consider the quarterback to be my mother," it was better than any PR rehab course.
"What would make a guy more angry than anything?" he asked after the news conference, easily mixing with the media in the Bengals locker room. "For a person to hit his mother, right? So that's how I feel. That's why whenever John Parker (Wilson) got hit, I used to get so angry. And there are so many pictures of me lifting him up off the ground because I hated to see him on the ground."
Sounds like a Bengals fan talking about Carson Palmer, which is the major reason the Bengals took the Alabama left tackle with the sixth pick. He showed up with a baby face that makes him look younger than 22 and the same tan suit he wore to accept the Outland Trophy as the nation's best lineman.
It also tells you about Andre Smith Jr., and his mother, Nesa, who works for the U.S. Post Office and has two younger children.
"He's been saying that for a long time now," said Nesa, on the way to her weekly worship service at More Than Conquerors Faith Church in their hometown of Birmingham, Ala., where Andre has performed in the chorus and acted out Bibical scenes.
"I think it makes him play better when he sees me back there."
But Andre Smith Jr., says he's not a momma's boy, but a daddy's boy.
"Don't believe it," Nesa Smith said. "He's a momma's boy."
One thing we do know is that Smith is definitely the Bengals guy. When he finished his stroll from the Paul Brown Stadium 10-yard line into the end zone for the cameras, he raised his arms and said, "I'm home."