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Old 05-19-2008, 06:23 PM   #15
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Default Re: Bengals to release Odell Thurman

Originally Posted by CantStop85 View Post
Odell will get a job somewhere...he'll be cheap talent for someone and he's not facing the possibility of a suspension like Henry.

Thurman's career prospects uncertain after release
By Mike Wilkening (
May 19, 2008

The Bengals welcomed Odell Thurman back from suspension. But they never depended upon him. There is a difference, and it was underscored today when the Bengals cut the one-time standout linebacker.

Thurman’s release apparently stems from his infrequent participation in the team’s offseason program. Per The Cincinnati Enquirer, Thurman missed three voluntary workouts. According to, the issue apparently came to a head last week, when Thurman was in Monticello, Ga., for his grandmother’s funeral. One of his agents, Safarrah Lawson, told the Bengals’ Web site today that Thurman was still in Monticello.

“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 head coach Marvin Lewis said Monday. “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 Bengals were within their rights to cut Thurman, who missed the 2006 and ’07 seasons. There is certainly reasonable doubt as to his ability to contribute at a high level. The specific language in Thurman’s contract is unknown, but the standard player contract contains this clause allowing clubs to terminate contracts for a variety of reasons:

“Player understands that he is competing with other players for a position on Club’s roster within the applicable player limits. If at any time, in the sole judgment of Club, Player’s skill or performance has been unsatisfactory as compared with that of other players competing for positions on Club’s roster, or if Player has engaged in personal conduct reasonably judged by Club to adversely affect or reflect on Club, then Club may terminate this contract. In addition, during the period any salary cap is legally in effect, this contract may be terminated if, in Club’s opinion, Player is anticipated to make less of a contribution to Club’s ability to compete on the playing field than another player or players whom Club intends to sign or attempts to sign, or another player or players who is or are already on Club’s roster, and for whom Club needs room.”

The 24-year-old Thurman will likely clear waivers and become a free agent, but the market for him is unlikely to be robust. Yes, he’s talented, but he is one misstep away from another NFL suspension. Also, evaluators who contemplate taking a flier on Thurman will be asked to make projections based on his 2005 form. At best, it is guesswork. At worst, it is an utter waste of time. And, as a longtime NFL assistant told me recently, the Thurman we last saw three seasons ago was playing far from error-free football. His ample talent allowed him to get by.
Whether Thurman has it any more is anyone’s guess. The Bengals’ decision to cut him may speak volumes to the 31 other clubs. One could surmise Thurman may be finished — or, even worse, he’s not willing to do the work needed to prove he’s not finished.

Any way you look at it, the reasons for not signing Thurman are at least equal to, if not greater than, the reasons for signing him.

Here is hoping Thurman can have a happy, healthy, successful life. He had made the strides necessary for commissioner Roger Goodell to reinstate him less than a month ago. So there is hope.

But there is no guarantee of another NFL job for him.
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