Updated: 3 p.m.
GEORGETOWN, Ky. — The Bengals defense moved into training camp with one move that was expected and one that wasn't Friday afternoon.
As the club soaked in cornerback Johnathan Joseph's free-agent departure to the Texans (unexpected), media sources reported the Bengals have released right end Antwan Odom (expected). Odom, the richest free-agent signing in club history before the 2008 season (five years for nearly $30 million), got swallowed by injuries. He was never the same after being named NFL Defensive Player of the Month in September 2009 and then ripping his Achilles tendon two weeks later.
Defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer thought he was going to get Joseph back in free agency.
"I'm upset, disappointed, frustrated," Zimmer said. "It's disappointing. You get good guys off the field, they work hard in the weight room and on the practice field and you kind of mold them what you want them to look like and they get out of here."
Zimmer said pursuit of the next guy is going to be all over the place and hinted it may impact what the club does if it can't find a decent man-to-man guy.
"I was under the assumption in the conversations I've had since before the lockout that we were going to get him back. I was pretty much told we were going to get him back," Zimmer said. "It will be interesting to see what the next guy is. Whether he's here, or at training camp, or on the street somewhere, or if he's on another team, or Canada. Who knows? You have to find somebody out there and play and if we can't find a guy exactly what we're looking for, we'll have to alter some of the things we're looking to do."
There's not much out there now. Some names that may interest the Bengals are Kelly Jennings, Chris Carr and possibly Antonio Cromartie if he's pushed out of the Jets.
It had Zimmer thinking back to 2001, when his unit in Dallas led the NFL.
"It's not the first time that something like this has happened to me," he said. "I've done this for a long time. I still have an expectation level. It may not look like I exactly pictured it a day ago, but we're going to figure it out."
Odom became expendable with the emergence last season of ends Carlos Dunlap and Michael Johnson, and Frostee Rucker returns as a swing guy at end and tackle. The Bengals are also still trying to sign Jon Fanane, another swingman.
What a tough run for Odom, leading the NFL in sacks with eight when he tore his Achilles tendon on Oct. 18, 2009 against the Texans. Since then, he had a virus right before the next training camp that sapped him of the 20 pounds he put on the summer before, tweaked an old knee injury, and lost four games for a banned substance that he said he had taken mistakenly. Then in the offseason he lost his Cincinnati home in a fire.
He tweeted Friday afternoon, "It's been real Cincinnati family its back to the country to get health."
Adding more woes to the cornerback spot is that Adam Jones (neck) said he'll miss the first two to three weeks on the active/PUP list, and while he said he plans to be ready for the opener there doesn't seem to be a firm date on his return. Defensive tackle Pat Sims (unknown) is on that list as is WILL linebacker Keith Rivers (wrist). Rivers is coming off surgery and it's not known if he'll be ready for the opener. All three can come off the list at any point and practice.
The Bengals also signed fourth-rounder Clint Boling and seventh-rounder Jay Finley, and second-rounder Andy Dalton's deal could be done Friday. The only other draft pick out is third-rounder Dontay Moch.
And the Bengals put quarterback Carson Palmer on the reserve did not report list.
Also, when left tackle Andrew Whitworth checked into campus, he revealed the Bengals are going to vote on recertification of the NFL Players Association Friday night.* *