Marvin Lewis Discusses Andre Smith's Absence, Calls It A "Mini-Distraction"

David Kohl-US PRESSWIRE

The Bengals find themselves in the midst of controversy with a couple of their players. The one player that is missing is right tackle Andre Smith who hasn't been in Cincinnati since he signed his new contract back in late April.

The Bengals commenced their mandatory minicamp on Tuesday with a couple of big distractions with two of their players. Adam Jones is in the middle of a legal issue that could lead to a suspension if the NFL front office deems that he is worthy of one. Then there is Andre Smith who hasn't been to an organized team workout since he signed a new three-year deal on the second night of the draft a couple of months ago.

The shame of it all? Both players have barely let the ink dry on their new contracts before these situations hit.

When Smith didn't show to the OTAs recently, rumors began to swirl regarding his whereabouts and the excuse(s) he would have for missing the sessions. Granted that OTAs are optional, we all know that players are strongly recommended to attend. So much so, that when players are absent it is a big deal.

According to Joe Reedy with the Cincinnati Enquirer, Smith will be fined $66,150 for missing minicamp and he won't see $100,000 in a workout bonus for missing OTAs this year.

When he missed the OTAs, we were given the impression that Smith was dealing with some "personal issues" and that he would return for the mandatory minicamp that started on Tuesday. That didn't come to fruition and more questions arose about his situation.

Was the gun charge from earlier this offseason lingering over his head back home in Alabama? Was there conditioning issues afoot again (pardon the pun)? Is there a family tragedy that we haven't heard about? Head coach Marvin Lewis talked about his absence to the media on Tuesday.

Quotes from Lewis were provided courtesy of the official Bengals Twitter account and Joe Danneman at FOX 19 in Cincinnati.

Kevin Goheen of FOX Sports Ohio and Joe Kay of the Associated Press chimed in by relaying Lewis' statement that Smith's absence wasn't related to the gun issue. The word "personal", in terms of the situation that the big offensive tackle is dealing with, was thrown around frequently. By other accounts, it also doesn't seem to be football or contract related.

All that we can conclude at this point is that either Smith himself or a family member is going through a tough time of some sort. Though Lewis and the team seems to be understanding of the situation during Tuesday's press conference.

"He’s really dealing with something he’s got to get through," Lewis said. "We would have hoped he would have been here and picked up on some of the things we felt like were good to work on this point in the year for himself personally with football. But he’s got some personal things he’s dealing with. Obviously, there’s certain things that come with not being here these three days, so, that’s unfortunate for him."

We'll see how that this all plays out, but we can only hope the best for Andre Smith and remain hopeful that this is just a blip on the radar, in terms of his ability to be a productive football player for the remainder of his new contract.

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