Just weeks after being reinstated from a two-year absence by the NFL, Odell Thurman was relased by the Bengals on Monday. Thurman went back home to Georgia on May 12 to attend his grandmother's funeral and had not returned to town before the Bengals cut the ax. At this point it is not clear why the Bengals made the move now, just months before Thurman finally returns to the field, but the team is making it clear that they are no longer tolerating anything less than a professional effort.
Geoff Hobson wrote on the team's website that "Thurman didn't return to Cincinnati for workouts last week and apparently wasn't back Monday. Indications are that the Bengals weren't pleased with his attendance in the offseason workout program that also includes the installation of a new defense with a new linebackers coach."
"The NFL provided Odell the opportunity to earn his way back onto our team, but we have not seen the right steps taken by him," Bengals coach Marvin Lewis said. "With our offseason work in progress and new talent added at our linebacker position, we've determined it's best to keep moving in a direction that does not include Odell.""The NFL provided Odell the opportunity to earn his way back onto our team, but we have not seen the right steps taken by him," Bengals coach Marvin Lewis told ESPN.com. "With our offseason work in progress and new talent added at our linebacker position, we've determined it's best to keep moving in a direction that does not include Odell."
Despite missing much of his rookie training camp because of a protracted contract impasse, Thurman appeared in 15 games in 2005, all as a starter, and registered 148 tackles, one sack, five interceptions, nine passes defensed and four forced fumbles. The former Georgia star and second-round draft pick was a candidate for defensive rookie of the year honors.
Thurman had two years left on his original rookie contract with the Bengals. The deal would have paid him $520,000 in 2008 and $615,000 in 2009. He lost $785,000 in salary during his two-year suspension.
Hobson also speculates that the Bengals "are set to line up with Dhani Jones in the middle, but it has never been his primary position during eight NFL seasons. Ahmad Brooks has just been switched from the middle to SAM backer. Corey Mays, a third-year player with 20 NFL games who made one start at SAM last season, may also be able to play the middle."