Bengals rookie Smith a no-show at camp

Updated: July 31, 2009, 3:21 PM ET
By James Walker | ESPN.com

GEORGETOWN, Ky. -- The Cincinnati Bengals began their 2009 training camp Friday without first-round draft choice Andre Smith as he remained in contract negotiations with the team.

Smith's no-show and inability to reach a deal before the team's opening practice was expected.

The No. 6 overall pick was indecisive in settling on an agent after the NFL draft, and combined with Cincinnati's poor reputation in negotiations, many anticipated a drawn-out process in getting Smith into training camp.

The Bengals are counting on Smith to be the starting right tackle in Week 1, which is why reaching an agreement soon is crucial for the team.

Quarterback Carson Palmer is coming off a season-ending elbow injury in 2008, and protecting him will be key to Cincinnati's success this season.

Smith, out of Alabama, remained the only unsigned draft pick in the AFC North division.

Second-year player Anthony Collins will work with the first team for the Bengals at right tackle in Smith's absence.

James Walker covers the AFC North for ESPN.com.

James Walker | email

ESPN Miami Dolphins reporter