Updated: 3:25 p.m.
The Bengals have a myriad of options available in replacing right end
Odom went off the roster for a month Friday when the NFL shot down his appeal and suspended him without pay for four games for violating the NFL policy on performance enhancing substances. Odom's lawyer, David Cornwell, ripped the move in a statement that said Odom had merely taken one of his wife’s prescription weight-loss pills by accident.
“Antwan did not take a steroid or any other performance enhancing substance,” Cornwell said.
The suspension just made the season even more miserable for Odom, who may not even be healthy enough to play over the next month. Before he injured his knee against the Bucs last Sunday, he was replaced by
Since the Bengals have eight healthy defensive linemen with Jon Fanene (hamstring) returning to practice earlier this week, they don’t have to replace Odom with a defensive lineman. They could also activate second-round pick
But a team starved for sacks could be looking for a linebacker/end-type in Adalius Thomas, the 33-year-old former Raven and Patriot that worked out Wednesday. Or the opening could allow them to pursue a veteran fullback, but they seemed to have decided that they’re going to get more effective blocking out of their tight ends rather than the fullbacks that are on the market.
Their own practice squad has players in positions where they wouldn’t be active on Sunday, such as tight end
The biggest question for Odom is to find rehab for the knee he injured last Sunday. He was going to be out at least next Sunday’s game in Atlanta and maybe more, but he’s not allowed in the facility until Nov. 15, the day after the game in Indianapolis.
As Odom came back from a torn Achilles this summer, he also had to fight a virus and tweaked knee that took him out of a chunk of training camp practices. Then he sprained his wrist in the second game and missed the third game before trying to fight through the pain in the last two weeks.
Plus, like the rest of the Bengals pass rushers, he's struggled. Odom has no sacks a year after after he led the NFL with eight before he injured his Achilles in the sixth game.
And he also found himself Friday in the middle of negotiations for a new collective bargaining agreement as Cornwell argued his case publicly.
"The decision to suspend Antwan Odom for four games highlights the need for the NFL and the NFLPA to fix the NFL’s disciplinary programs,” Cornwell said in his statement.
“While driving after midnight from Alabama to Cincinnati to report to training camp, Antwan’s wife mistakenly opened her prescription pill bottle instead of Antwan’s and gave him one of her prescription weight loss pills instead of Antwan’s medicine. Naturally, Antwan’s preseason urine test was positive for his wife’s medicine.
“The NFL did not dispute the facts in this case and accepted the Cincinnati Bengals’ weight records showing that Antwan’s target reporting weight was 275 lbs. and that he actually reported at 255 lbs., confirming that Antwan had no reason to take a weight loss medicine. The steroid program’s administrator, Dr. John Lombardo, testified that no competitive advantage was gained by this mistake and that no physical difference would be apparent to Antwan from taking his wife’s medicine as opposed to his own.
“Harold Henderson, the hearing officer designated by Commissioner Goodell to hear Antwan’s appeal, found 'credible and convincing evidence that Mr. Odom inadvertently took medicine prescribed for his wife.' Yet, Mr. Henderson concluded that as 'sympathetic as this case may be' and though a four game suspension may be 'unfairly harsh,' he lacked the authority to alter the discipline.
While the NFL and the NFLPA maneuver for upcoming collective bargaining negotiations, Antwan’s case is a stark reminder that the issues they will consider impact men’s lives. The strict liability rule in the steroid program enabled the NFL’s lawyers to argue that the facts did not matter in Antwan’s case. Tell that to Antwan and his wife, Brooke, the Bengals and their fans, and to any fair-minded person who recognizes that as legitimate as the objectives of the NFL’s steroid program may be, none of these objectives is served by Antwan’s suspension."
Also Friday, ESPN reported that Bengals wide receiver