Lard Knocks

Andre Smith is so fat, the bones in his feet fracture under the weight of his enormous girth.

The rookie broke his foot just two days after ending a lengthy holdout during a non-contact drill adding to the speculation that Smith is grossly out of shape and also adding to the stigma that won’t dissipate surrounding Bengals first-round picks.

HBO’s Hard Knocks showed Smith meeting with team owner and local dark lord, Mike Brown who complained to the hippopotamus about the hold out and about the reports of his cushiony physique. Smith showed little verbal prowess in the meeting, nodding his fat head and murmuring “yes sirs” to all of Mike’s gripes.

Then the young prospect the size of a work van, took the field and dragged small men on ropes around the field as part of his training regiment. Somewhere along his day, Andre the Obese overdid it and cracked one of his swollen, miserable feet.

While he heals, he will have time to learn the playbook and lose some friggin’ weight, for christ sakes. He could be back on the field in three weeks where he can demonstrate how much he has learned, resting on the sidelines.

Meanwhile, Anthony Collins can take a deep breath and relax a little. Andre Smith may have a contract as big as he is, but there’s no way he can take Collins’ job with his leg in a cast and his enormous moobs preventing him from squeezing through most doors. With Smith one meal away from classifying himself as a structure instead of a person, a problem so magnified that his own limbs are beginning to go on strike, any real service to the team looks a good ways away.

None of this can come as much of a surprise for seasoned Bengal fans. We who have suffered so mightily have seen handfuls of young prospects plucked from the league thanks to injury or general incompetance. In Andre Smith, we’re seeing both happen simultaneously.

Smith’s brief professional career is already littered with questionable decisions regarding his hiring of an agent and auditioning for pro scouts. After those gaffes, he then missed the entire Bengals training camp in a holdout and eventually reported to the team weeks later so large that he darkened entire Cincinnati hillsides and frightened scores of area children.

The whole affair has been a disaster. Both sides of the negotiation table look foolish now. The Bengals drafted a player that can’t stay in shape and had a hard time signing, and Andre Smith and Alvin Keels look like swindlers selling bunk goods. It isn’t as if the man needs to be svelt and sculpted; I like linemen with sizeable guts. But weighing in at closer to 400 pounds than 300, isn’t helping anyone involved.

The deal he and the Brown family did agree on has clauses in it that reduces Smith’s pay if he hovers above 350 pounds. For those unaware of NFL rookie contract deals, that’s an embarrising clause to be included in writing.

Maybe this is just a morbidly obese bump in the road that Andre Smith will overcome on his way to becoming a Pro-Bowl tackle. But, up to this point, it looks like another Bengals hot-air balloon, inflating itself to dangerous proportions.


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