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Old 07-13-2008, 11:02 AM   #11
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Default Re: Odell Thurman sought on assault warrant

Its just not as fun now that he's no longer on Cincy's roster......

If you guys are lucky everyone will forget him in a year or so and you won't hear about it everytime he gets arrested from now on.

Last edited by rbryan; 07-13-2008 at 11:16 AM.
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Old 07-13-2008, 11:07 AM   #12
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Default Re: Odell Thurman sought on assault warrant

Originally Posted by stillers4me
Once a Bengal, always a Bengal.

Originally Posted by CantStop85 View Post
More like once a dumbass, always a dumbass.
...That seems redundant.
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Old 07-13-2008, 12:24 PM   #13
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Default Re: Odell Thurman sought on assault warrant

Originally Posted by rbryan View Post
Its just not as fun now that he's no longer on Cincy's roster......
I agree.
Damn those league rules.
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Old 07-13-2008, 12:37 PM   #14
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Default Re: Odell Thurman sought on assault warrant

So now his upbrining is being blamed for this. The only person to blame is Odell Thurman. He's the one that has made the choices that got him into the trouble, nobody else.

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Old 07-13-2008, 01:31 PM   #15
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Default Re: Odell Thurman sought on assault warrant

Cannot take the mandatory drug test right now because I am grieving for the passing of my grandmother - good luck with anyone on this board trying that line out with their employer
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Old 07-13-2008, 10:33 PM   #16
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Default Re: Odell Thurman sought on assault warrant

Wow, this guy's got no future.
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Old 07-14-2008, 09:09 AM   #17
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Default Re: Odell Thurman sought on assault warrant

Originally Posted by CantStop85 View Post
More like once a dumbass, always a dumbass.

He was a f*ck-up long before he was ever a Bengal.
More like, he was a f*ck-up long before he was ever a Bengal, HENCE he was destined to become a Bengal.

"I'm not locked up in here with you. You're locked up in here with me." -Rorschach
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Old 07-15-2008, 07:22 AM   #18
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Default Re: Odell Thurman sought on assault warrant


Banished by the NFL. Given up on by his team. Is there still hope for Thurman after so many mistakes?

By Steve Hummer
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Published on: 07/13/08

Ask anyone. They'll testify that Odell Thurman was one sincere, heat-seeking, heart-taking linebacker.

"A freak," said David Pollack, Thurman's defensive teammate while at Georgia and with the Cincinnati Bengals. "So gifted. And one of the greatest competitors I've ever been around."

If he couldn't impale you, only then would he settle for just the tackle.

Ask anyone about the player who has just been suspended a third consecutive season for violating the NFL's substance-abuse policy. The verdict is pretty much unanimous. The person he hurt the most always was the one looking back at him in the mirror.

"I don't think there's anything mean or malicious about him. He's not the bad guy he's portrayed to be," said Ricky Hunley, Thurman's former linebackers coach with the Bengals.

"Odell just can't get out of his own way," said his Atlanta-based agent, Safarrah Lawson.

Ask Thurman himself about the events that have left large parts of his life verging on ruin, that have reduced his career to one of the NFL's most tangled cautionary tales. He'll remind you that there is a human behind all those shipwreck headlines.

"Honestly, I'm back where I started from again," he said, while sitting in the home of an old friend in Covington. "I'm messed up. I'm out of the league again. It's like the last two years have been for nothing.

"I haven't given up [on the idea of playing again in the NFL]. It's up to the commissioner. And I put it in the hands of the Lord. You got to trust in something. It's going to play out how it's going to play out.

"Right now, I'm kinda lost."

Just turned 25 on Wednesday, Thurman will have wasted three seasons of play and pay by the end of 2008. The suspensions will have cost him a reported $1.2 million in salary. He has lost his house in Cincinnati and has faced foreclosure on the one in his hometown of Monticello, where three of his four children, and their mother, live.

From nothing, then back

While Thurman whistled through a minefield of trouble for much of his young life, Monticello ushered him off into pro football as a hometown hero in the spring of 2005.

On that draft day, when Cincinnati stole him in the second round, the little town 65 miles southeast of Atlanta gathered on its proudly historic square to launch Thurman to a presumably better place.

"When the town allows you to have the square, it's almost like a festival," said Evern Williams, who has been Thurman's sounding board since high school and who coordinated the draft-day party. Now a middle-school teacher and mentor in Covington, Williams regularly has had Thurman to his house to talk through his latest banishment.

Williams went on: "You got the grill going on, the television playing, the kids on the square taking pictures with Odell, the news cameras.

"He got drafted, I looked to the sky and told his [late] father, 'We did it.' "

After a shortened all-SEC career at Georgia and one spectacular play-making season in Cincinnati, Thurman is on the outside —- far on the outside —- looking in. Getting him to the NFL was an accomplishment. Keeping him there has proved impossible.

Now, when people in Monticello talk about Thurman, it is usually punctuated with a sigh.

"He's a good guy. I like him," Glen Davis said as he was buffing a car at his and his father's detailing shop a block from the square. "But, man, how can you go from nothing to a million dollars to nothing again?"

Thurman survived one dismissal and one suspension at Georgia. Two violations of the NFL substance-abuse policy cost him the 2006 season. And deemed uncooperative, Thurman was denied reinstatement in 2007.

But the most baffling part of the unraveling was to come. For all his missteps —- and Thurman admits there were many —- he was close enough to his football redemption this year to almost touch it.

Grandmother's death

He said he was clean and sober, says he has been for two years (there is no way to confirm that with the NFL, because of confidentiality requirements). The money had vanished, like spun sugar in a hard rain. And he ached to play. The consequences of two frittered seasons lined up for daily inspection.

Duly inspired, Thurman was cleared to work out with the Bengals at the beginning of 2008. He was fully reinstated by the NFL on April 21.

By mid-May, upon the death of his grandmother, Thurman was on his way out of football again.

"I thought he was going to make it back," said Lawson, the agent. "But then his grandmother died and everything fell apart.

"For it to blow up that quickly, it just shocked me."

Betty Thurman was the sturdiest mooring in Thurman's life. His mother had given him up when he was just a baby, and died when he was only 10. With alcohol problems of his own, his father died at 41, just before Odell's first game at Georgia. It was his grandmother who raised him, in her crowded little house on Spruce Street in Monticello.

Thurman said he ran afoul of both the NFL and Bengals during her funeral.

Concerned that Thurman would slip back into old bad habits, the Bengals dispatched a representative to watch out for Thurman during the funeral. As the rep prodded him to return to Cincinnati for the beginning of voluntary workouts, Thurman eventually blew up at him. The Bengals cut him a week later.

"My grandmother just died. This is who raised me. This is my backbone, for real. I'm thinking, 'You don't understand. OK, do what you got to do. If you're going to release me, release me. Cut me, whatever.' That's how I felt about that," Thurman explained.

He also said that while he was at the church for the funeral, he was notified to report for drug testing. He had been tested as often as two times a week since 2006, and as part of the NFL program is required to submit to testing within hours of being notified. The contact address that Thurman had left with the NFL was his grandmother's house. He said a test administrator awaited him there while the family gathered for a post-funeral reception. Thurman said he refused to meet with the tester or submit a urine sample.

The NFL does not comment on specific cases involved in the substance-abuse program. It will not confirm or deny the extent of the violation. Regardless, the hammer came down June 7 when the league announced it had indefinitely suspended Thurman again, and that he could not apply for reinstatement until after the 2008 season.

View from two angles

There are two views of the events that might have permanently taken Thurman out of the game.

There is the one through the eyes of grief. Thurman said he just broke down after his grandmother died. For the next week, he said he turned off his cellphone and sought solace with a few close friends.

The idea of being urged back to work or giving a urine sample during that period infuriated him.

"At the time —- and I'm still upset —- I was like, man, forget 'em. That's just disrespectful," Thurman said.

Then there is the view through the very practical eyes of a coach.

"The Bengals went above and beyond the call of duty to get him back on the field," said Hunley, who was fired by the team at the beginning of the year. "Odell Thurman's best friend in the world was [team president] Mike Brown. I think we wanted it more than Odell wanted it.

"If you want to stay in the NFL, you don't get to make the rules," Hunley added. "He had his opportunity to do it his way —- it didn't work. You got to do it their way."

In the aftermath, a gifted football player is grasping for any plan that would either return him to the field or enable him to move on off it. Thurman is looking at another year of limbo.

His identity is that of an athlete, and it is one he cannot shake.

"As of right now, I still feel like I'm an NFL football player. It's going to be hard for me to accept a job at McDonald's," Thurman said. "I'm just trying to find something.

"I'm not blaming anyone. It's me. I've made these mistakes to the point where that once you do the right thing it's hard [for others] to believe in anything. I've made a lot of mistakes."

He is in a very confusing place. One moment, Thurman is accepting all blame. The next he argues that the punishment he has received is too harsh. "People have done a lot more than I have with a lot less repercussions," he said.

It is difficult to see a good ending to the story from here. No one is at the offering-promises stage just yet.
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Old 07-15-2008, 07:22 AM   #19
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Default Re: Odell Thurman sought on assault warrant

His tough upbringing left Thurman with "no life-coping skills," his agent said. One result is a chronic inability to keep to anyone else's schedule (see the missed drug tests, and the Bengals' impatience with him getting back to workouts). And being away from the structure and discipline of football seldom helps people in his position, Lawson added.

"Hopefully, he can lead a productive life, try to get himself in a situation where he can be a positive influence," said Williams, his longtime friend. "On the other hand, he could just fall into the cycle of life that he's lived in until now."

Need to break the cycle

One certainty: Thurman has plenty of time for introspection.

And when he takes a hard look, this is what he sees: "I'm an alcoholic and a drug addict. I like to smoke, I like to drink but I can't. It's going to be a problem until I die."

And with that comes the topic of the aforementioned cycle, the family curse —- his father died young because of alcohol abuse; and now his career has been sabotaged by substance abuse.

"I can't fault people for thinking, 'Yeah, he is going to be the same way [as his father]. I can't fault nobody for that. I have to show them different. ... I've been told I need to break the cycle. I don't want my son to grow up having to go through these problems."

Thurman said he can stay in shape and can remain sober, should the chance to play here or in Canada arise next year. But now, that goal can't be all about football.

"I want to maintain a focused life for the first time in my life, I think," he said. "Why throw it away because I'm not in the NFL?"

He is the NFL's most noted outcast now that Adam "Pacman" Jones, who was suspended for the 2007 season, is back in the league with Dallas.

But when Thurman speaks of himself, it isn't just to beat himself up for the past. He professes a desire to change. If only it were as easy as simply wanting to.

"I think I've been through three or four stages in my life since I left UGA," he said. "First the partying stage. Then to, OK, having a lot of money and just not caring. To I'm in trouble, I've got to stay below the radar. To doing it just because they want me to do it. To wanting to do it.

"I want to get my life together, period, regardless of my career."
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