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Bengals holdout Smith not close to signing

Brett Favre’s return may not be good news to Packers fans and beleaguered Midwestern football scribes, but it will certainly take the spotlight off other NFL stories of the day.

And for that, Michael Vick, Tom Cable, Brandon Marshall, and the remaining rookie holdouts should send Favre a hearty thanks.

One of those rookies, Bengals tackle Andre Smith, is reportedly $5-$10 million apart in contract negotiations with Cincinnati, according to NFL Network’s Steve Wyche.

Wyche paints a grim picture for folks like quarterback Carson Palmer who would love to see the projected starter get to work.

The Bengals reportedly increased their offer recently, but it is still less than the deal handed to Vernon Gholston in the same draft slot last year. Wyche says that Smith’s holdout is in even worse shape than Michael Crabtree’s and could go right up until the start of the regular season, if that soon.

Cameras for the HBO show Hard Knocks showed Smith working out on his own, but he didn’t exactly look like he was in game shape. (This year’s Hard Knocks, incidentally, looks even better than usual, which is saying a lot.)

Bengals president Mike Brown didn’t sound broken up on the program about Smith’s holdout, further indicating that it could drag on into September.

The only drama left is seeing what holdout will last the longest: Smith, Crabtree, ordarkhorse pick Bills defensive end Aaron Maybin?