CINCINNATI (July 26, 2006) -- Bengals middle linebacker Odell Thurman has been suspended for the first four games of the season for violating the NFL's substance-abuse policies.
Thurman became the team's starting middle linebacker as a rookie last season, when the Bengals made their first playoff appearance since 1990. Thurman was excused from the team's minicamp last month for personal reasons.
"It's very disappointing to us that Odell has this misconduct with league policies," coach Marvin Lewis said. "I am very disappointed. It's something that he needs to get in line in his life."
Thurman, 23, a second-round pick from Georgia, had 1 1/2 sacks and led the team in tackles in nine games last season.
Thurman's suspension is the latest embarrassment for a team that has had four other players arrested in recent months.