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Andre Smith Reportedly Fires Agent

Apr 13, 2009 – 4:30 PM
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Tom Mantzouranis

Tom Mantzouranis %BloggerTitle%

Andre Smith has already, according to most projections, lost about $15 million in guaranteed money due to a series of bad decisions in the tumultuous months leading up to this month's NFL draft. Though he's still projected as a likely top-10 pick, it's been a long fall for the left tackle once considered a potential No. 1 overall selection.

Smith capped his bizarre descent Sunday night by apparently firing his agent, Alvin Keels, according to The Birmingham News.

The replacement representation will come from Ian Greengross, who represents Darren McFadden. McFadden cashed in with $26 million in guarantees last year as the fourth overall pick, without holding out. The switch can't be consummated until Thursday, however, due to the mandatory five-day waiting period imposed when switching agents.

While Smith isn't the first player to switch agents close to the draft, it certainly doesn't help detract from the idea around the league that he's a magnet for drama. Even worse, it wouldn't be a story about Andre Smith without a really peculiar turn, and this one has one of those, as well -- as of early Monday afternoon, Keels had not been aware that he had been fired.
Keels told me a few minutes ago that he knew of no such thing, that the report "wasn't true" and then he asked if it was just a rumor. I told him I was reporting it. He took my number, said he'd look into it and that he would get back to me.
While on the surface this might seem like another low-point in Smith's not-yet-pro career, it might actually represent the opposite. Throughout his fall, many NFL insiders questioned the advice he was given (remember, these prospects are barely adults and swimming in an overwhelming sea of people attempting to exploit them; they very much need well-intended advisors), and by firing Keels, Smith might have finally shown a semblance of sensibility in this process. It's possible teams look at his decision to switch agents and see a player who is finally looking to build positive momentum by recognizing the err of his past ways, someone who is taking responsibility for his fate.
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