Community: Odom looking to donate sacks of money

It was in Week 2 last year when Bengals right end Antwan Odom had a breakout game, a five-sacker against the shell-shocked Packers offensive line that gave him an NFL-record seven in the first two games.

That would be a tidy sum for the Avondale Boys and Girls Club. Try $3,500 with Odom's pledge that he'll donate $500 for each sack to the organization that is part of the Boys and Girls Club of Cincinnati, where 65 percent of the children come from single-parent homes.

"A lot of the kids remind me of myself," Odom says. "My mother had me and three sisters. I know how hard that is."

No one in his or her right mind thinks anyone is going to get five sacks in this Week 2 Sunday against the Ravens in the 1 p.m. Paul Brown Stadium opener. But Odom knows his team needs him to get on the board after the Bengals were blanked getting to Patriots quarterback Tom Brady last week.

"There were different reasons, but the big thing is we're going to get it fixed," Odom says. "Brady's so smart. He always sees the open man. I can see why he and Peyton Manning and Drew Brees are the best in the game right now."

Odom's comeback from a blown-out Achilles hasn't been easy. A virus just before training camp sapped him of about 30 pounds and that cost him some practice time, as well as an aggravation of an old meniscus injury in his knee. Plus, defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer is fearful that he didn't play his starters enough when they were healthy.

But Odom says he's starting to get more comfortable on the field. His weight is up to 271 pounds and rising and he's experiencing no problem with the Achilles. With the Ravens known for their maximum pass-protection schemes, Odom knows his role, along with that of left end Robert Geathers, becomes highly important in the pass rush.

"They can't do it every play," Odom said of maximum protection. "What it means is we have to take advantage of it when they don't do it."

Odom says he's getting his strength back and is hoping it translates into more plays on the field. It would help off the field, where he plans to spend part of his weekly day off at the Avondale facility with the kids.

"Just hanging out and talking," Odom said. "Just to check in and see how everybody is doing. They need some kind of motivation and somebody to look up to."

When Odom joined the organization last year, he formed Antwan's All-Stars, a group of club members recognized monthly for improving their grades, behavior or service to the community and receive such prizes as Bengals tickets and the opportunity to meet Bengals players. He also donates his PBS suite for some of the games.

He hopes they'll have plenty to see.

And spend.

"I can't wait," he said, "to get back out there this Sunday."

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