Smith on right track?


Andre Smith (Getty Images)

Updated: 2:55 p.m.

Now that we think we know who is lining up behind Andre Smith as an agent the next question is where Smith is going to line up when voluntary workouts start Tuesday.

After Tuesday's mushroom cloud lifted, Rick Smith said Wednesday that he is still Smith's agent and that as far as he knows nothing has changed. Smith had apparently fired Rick Smith back on Friday, but the agent of the Chicago-based firm Priority Sports and Entertainment says he didn't know his status had changed.

"I just kept working and getting him ready for May 19," said Rick Smith of the first day of voluntary workouts.

The growing speculation is that when the Bengals take the field that day, Smith won't be lining up at left tackle and he may not even be with the first string right away. If left guard Andrew Whitworth (most likely the vet who would move to left tackle), moves, that would put left tackle Anthony Collins at right tackle. And after Collins played virtually his entire rookie year on the left side, he's going to need plenty of reps himself.

They could also end up putting Smith at left tackle, which they did in the rookie camp, and leave him next to Whitworth with Collins at right tackle. But Whitworth has 13 NFL starts at left tackle, considered the hottest spot because it is quarterback Carson Palmer's blindside, and right tackle is often seen as an easier transition for a rookie.

Since Smith is the sixth pick in the draft, there is also the possibility of a holdout and that would be another impediment to grooming him for left tackle right away. The Bengals certainly don't want a potential starter holding out and Rick Smith says he's never had one.

Smith says he's also headed to Cincinnati next week and plans to sit down with the wife-husband negotiating team of Bengals vice presidents Katie and Troy Blackburn either May 20 or 21. He's done deals with the club before, such as free-agent contracts for Tory James and Bryan Robinson.

"I've got a good relationship with Katie and Troy," Rick Smith said. "I've prepared some booklets for us to look at and I don't expect there to be a holdout. We just have to get on the same page and I think we'll get there."

Priority's Kenny Zuckerman represented former Bengals left tackle Levi Jones, the 10th pick in the 2002 draft, and he was on time to Georgetown College. Smith also says they got timely deals for Packers linebacker A.J. Hawk, the fifth pick in 2006, and Raiders guard Robert Gallery, the second pick in 2004.

SLANTS AND SCREENS:Kicker Shayne Graham met the Cincinnati media Wednesday for the first time since the Bengals made him their franchise free-agent back in February and admitted he was "disappointed" that there wasn't a "serious" effort to reach a long-term deal before they tendered him the one-year contract of $2.5 million.

Although the sides have until July 15 to reach a long-term deal, Graham, the most accurate kicker in Bengals history, indicated nothing new on that front. But he also said he's "happy to be a Bengal," and to be back with his teammates and in a community he has become fixture as a philanthropist.

He also says he's in the best shape of his life after renting a home in the Tampa-St. Petersburg region of Florida this winter and "never seeing one snowflake."

» With wide receiver Chad Ochocinco apparently not showing for at least the May version of the voluntary workouts, quarterback Carson Palmer said he's anxious to see Chris Henry work in The Ocho's X spot opposite Laveranues Coles when the offense take its first snap next Tuesday.

» Chris Crocker says he's used to watching the newest member of the secondary, fellow safety Roy Williams. Before becoming a Bengal, Crocker played for former Dallas defensive coordinators Dave Campo and Mike Zimmer in his various stints through the league and saw plenty of No. 31 on tape.

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