Originally posted on Fox Sports Ohio  |  Last updated 4/26/13

CINCINNATI, OH - MAY 1: First round draft pick Andre Smith #7 (R) of the Cincinnati Bengals battles with teammate Ryan Madison #61 during rookie minicamp at Paul Brown Stadium on May 1, 2009 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Mark Lyons/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI -- The last time Andre Smith was involved in contract negotiations with the Bengals the scenario played out in a weekly TV drama. The cameras of NFL Films followed Smith and the Bengals management for Hard Knocks as they went about their business separately. The Bengals were going through training camp in Georgetown, Ky., while Smith was home in Alabama holding out. That holdout plagued Smith for two seasons as he battled weight issues and injuries. In the last two seasons Smiths play at right tackle has proven worthy of being the sixth overall pick in his draft class and Friday the sides agreed to continue their relationship for another three years. It took longer than expected for the Bengals to re-sign the unrestricted free agent but the deal allows the Bengals to return all of their starters from last year, including bookend tackles Smith and Andrew Whitworth for protection of quarterback Andy Dalton. Free agency deals dont often get done in the middle of the NFL Draft but this one, announced at the same time the Bengals selected North Carolina running back Geovani Bernard with the fifth pick in the second round, was an added bonus to an offense looking to increase its production. It was time. I felt was time for me to be home, where Im supposed to be and get back to playing Bengal football, said Smith. The difference between the first two years and the last two years, the first two years I was revolting against everything. I was like Im not going to listen to (head coach) Marvin (Lewis), Im going to do what I want to do. The last two years came down to the lockout, I didnt have anyone around and it came up to me and thats when I lost all my weight. Last year I came in and we had success and this year I think were going to be even better on offense. Smith said he is weighing 335 these days and has been working out at the Warehouse Performance Institute in the Birmingham area, a gym co-owned by Smiths former Alabama teammate, Mike McCoy. He runs you through the ringers, like a Rocky workout, said Smith. Its just a hole in the wall, in the back of a warehouse. He has one rack with the bench on it and he runs you through the ringers for two hours. Smith was one of the top tackles on the free agent market this offseason but the an expected windfall in the neighborhood of 9 million per year never materialized for anyone. Jake Long (St. Louis) and Sebastian Vollmer (New England), the top-two rated free agents, got deals worth an average of 8.5 million and 6.7 million, respectively. Smith and the Bengals were willing to bide their time to get deal done. It wasnt really that hard, said Smith. (Agent) Ben (Dogra) had his plan. He knew how he was going to do it. Of course, it didnt work exactly like he thought it was supposed to; there are going to be bumps in the road. For the most part, everything went exactly like he said it was going to go. The Bengals went into the offseason with 23 potential unrestricted free agents. They re-signed 14 of those players, including defensive end Michael Johnson as their franchise tag player, and lost six to other teams. Only cornerback Nate Clements, safety Chris Crocker and linebacker Thomas Howard remain unsigned. They added just four free agents from other teams, most notably former Pittsburgh linebacker James Harrison. Its obviously been an on-going process getting Andre under contract, said Lewis. What we were able to do at the onset of free agency was, number one, retain our guys. We felt it was imperative. They (management) did a great job of that. Its been a lot of work, but weve been able to get that accomplished.
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