By now, everybody knows about what happened to Andre Smith, who's suspended for this Friday's bowl game, and likely won't ever play another game in a crimson jersey again.
A good many 'Bama fans -- via facebook and blogs -- have unfairly come down on #71, saying (among other things) that he's stupid, selfish, immature and so forth. I don't think most of these folks understand how easy it is for a college kid to become entangled with an agent, particularly during Christmas holidays when the coaching staffs can't control their athletes' every moves.
Even more galling, this one incident has been enough for most casual football fans to completely forsake everything Andre Smith contributed to the program the last three seasons. Easily the best player recruited during the tepid Mike Shula era, Smith was basically the starter at the most high-profile spot on the offensive line from the day he stepped on campus. He's been an All-American, an upstanding citizen and one of those players we as Alabama fans can be proud to have on our side.
Coach Saban and his staff must suspend him, of course, in order to protect the university and the football program from the vultures at the NCAA. But please, let's not allow that fact to obscure what the man gave to us the last three years.
Many thanks to Andre for a great three seasons. We wish you all the best.