ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) – Coach Gary Kubiak says Antonio Smith’s absence from the Denver Broncos’ voluntary organized team activities should “absolutely not” be viewed as a judgment or punishment.
Prosecutors in Texas are investigating a criminal sexual complaint against the defensive end who signed with the Broncos two months ago.
Smith met with Kubiak, general manager John Elway and team president and CEO Joe Ellis and they all agreed it was best for Smith to skip the voluntary workouts, Kubiak said.
“This is a bunch of people getting together and talking through a situation and coming to a conclusion together on what we thought was best at this point,” Kubiak said following Wednesday’s workout.
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Smith, 33, has not been arrested and no charges have been filed in the case. Sheriff Troy Nehls of Fort Bend County near Houston said a complaint was made against Smith in November and it was “sexual in nature.” His department’s findings were forwarded to prosecutors in February.
District Attorney John Healey last week said the investigation was ongoing and stressed the “complaint at this point is an allegation only.”
Smith, who had three sacks for the Oakland Raiders last season, didn’t tell the Broncos about the investigation before signing a one-year, $2 million contract on April 2.
“I would love to have had all the information, yes, at some point,” Kubiak said. “But you know what, that’s come and gone. So, it’s time right now to do the right thing and to go about it each day the right way. So, I’m past that, OK? … We’ve got a lot of great things going on. We need to stay focused on that and he needs to stay focused on his situation.”
Kubiak said Smith called him last week to inform him of the investigation the night before it became public when TMZ reported it.
Over the next few days, Kubiak had several conversations with Smith and huddled with Elway and Ellis before the decision was made Tuesday for Smith to skip the workouts.
Kubiak said both the team and Smith “felt like the best thing to do right now was for Antonio to devote all his energy to the situation. And he agreed with that. We agree with that.”
Kubiak also said “it’s my understanding that we may have some answers here in a week or two, and I hope that’s the case. But the most important thing for him right now is to devote all his time and energy to this situation.”
The Raiders released Smith in March to save $3 million and he quickly signed in Denver, where he was reunited with Kubiak, defensive coordinator Wade Philips and D-line coach Bill Kollar. Smith excelled under that trio’s tutelage while playing for the Houston Texans from 2009 to 2013.
Kubiak said his prior work with Smith had no effect on the way he’s viewing the matter.
“I have relationships with all the players that I work with,” Kubiak said. “I’ve coached thousands of players throughout the course of my career and I’m always going to do what’s best for the organization and the player. And that’s what we’re going to do right here. We’re going to do everything the right way and hopefully we have some answers here coming soon.”
By Arnie Stapleton, AP Sports Writer
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