Fact Check: Did Arthur Smith bench Bijan Robinson for vaping? Clarifying wild rumors about Falcons HC’s decision

Bijan Robinson, left, Arthur Smith, right
Bijan Robinson, left, Arthur Smith, right

Earlier this season, Atlanta Falcons rookie running back Bijan Robinson only played a few snaps vs. the team's game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Many people were questioning and speculating why the star running back only got in for a few plays that game. There was one rumor that Robinson blew smoke from a vape into the face of head coach Arthur Smith.

Appearing on the Pat McAfee Show, Smith laughed those rumors off while complementing Robinson as one of the kindest guys he knows.

"I find humor in a lot of things that they'll send me," said Smith, "stuff that it's so absurd. You know, like the one that I mean, even I've been on the record, you know, talking about the Bijan vaping, which I thought was pretty funny that David Basti showed me that we all got a laugh out of, but that's the stuff that's out there sometimes it's just so absurd."
"That was one theory about the last time we played Tampa, so it was brought back up to about, and then the funniest thing I saw was that he was vaping and vaped in my face as we were getting off the bus and I benched him. Bijan might be the nicest person I have ever seen."

How has Bijan Robinson performed in his rookie season?

Bijan Robinson during Atlanta Falcons vs. New York Jets
Bijan Robinson during Atlanta Falcons vs. New York Jets

Coming out of Texas, Bijan Robinson was viewed as one of the best running back prospects in recent memory. The Atlanta Falcons selected him eighth overall in the 2023 NFL Draft.

Posting 11 games into his rookie season, Robinson has shown some promise as an elite running back for years to come. He's rushed for 743 yards on 141 attempts, averaging 5.0 yards per carry while rushing for three touchdowns. In the passing game, he's caught 32 balls for 240 yards and three touchdowns.

While he likely won't win Offensive Rookie of the Year, Robinson has been one of the best rookies this season.

If you use any of the above quotes, please credit Arthur Smith, the Pat McAfee Show and H/T Sportskeeda.

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Edited by Abhimanyu Gupta