For the first time in his NFL career, Andre Smith started in all 16 regular-season games for the Cincinnati Bengals last season. But the fifth-year pro will enter 2013 training camp on the active/non-football injury list with what the Bengals are calling a calf injury.
The right tackle re-upped with the Bengals this offseason, signing a three-year, $18 million contract after some contention about the team's initial offers. Part of the Bengals' concerns stemmed from worries that Smith would regress after getting paid.
Smith was graded by ProFootballFocus.com as the top right tackle in the NFL. Today also marks the fourth time in five years that Smith will not be practicing when the Bengals hit the field for their first training-camp outing.
"It is important," Dalton said. "He wasn't here for OTAs and minicamp. I don't know what the timetable is on him, but I'm sure he will be back soon. It will be good for him to be playing football again. We've got to get everybody out there."
While the injury isn't believed to be serious, according to the Bengals' official website, it adds to the offseason concern after Smith was fined by coach Marvin Lewis for missing the team's mandatory minicamp. We also could see this being a lead storyline in the early episodes of HBO's "Hard Knocks" series.
Follow Kevin Patra on Twitter @kpatra.