Lewis: Thurman can if he can

Posted May 14, 2007

Posted: 11:15 p.m.

If middle linebacker Odell Thurman is reinstated next month by the NFL, he'll get a chance to win a roster spot at Georgetown College during Bengals training camp.

So says Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis, who blew off every imaginable question about Thurman since October. Until he decided to give it up to WLW-AM Sports Talk host Paul Daugherty on Monday night.

Reached after the show, Daugherty paraphrased what Lewis told him and said that if Thurman got reinstated Lewis would let him come to training camp.

Thurman, suspended a year for repeated violations of the NFL's substance abuse policy, is eligible to return to the club July 11.

Word is that Thurman has already applied for reinstatement and that he has been recommended for reinstatement by those in charge of the NFL's rehab program, but he must remain clean until July 11.

Although Lewis invoked a Thurman public blackout, he and some members of his coaching staff have apparently visited him during his rehab to offer encouragement behind the scenes.

Now maybe Bengals fans can start dreaming about a linebacker corps with both Thurman, a leading Rookie of the Year candidate in 2005, and Ahmad Brooks, a player who would have been selected in the first round last month if he hadn't come out early and been taken in the third round of last July's supplemental draft.

In fact, the drafting of Brooks came the same day that Thurman's four-game suspension became public. It went to a year when Thurman was arrested for DUI Sept. 25, and Lewis ordered his locker cleared out the next day even before the NFL made it official.

Since that day Lewis has refused to answer any questions about Thurman's 2007 status until Daugherty uttered the magic words in his appearance Monday night.

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