Updated: 1:55 p.m.
Right end Antwan Odom surfaced in the locker room Thursday with his left shoulder in a sling and says he's going to get it checked out before practice. Odom said he got hurt Wednesday during practice when he reached for the ball carrier and his arm got hit a couple of different ways by two different players.
Odom is concerned because it's the same shoulder he separated in college three times before having surgery. His first season as a $6 Million Man has been a tough one, starting with a broken bone in his foot on the first day of training camp and continuing through just two sacks in the first nine games after an eight-sack '07 in Tennessee.
Odom "Very frustrating," Odom said. "It's the second time this year I've been hurt. I can't get away from it. I hate having that type of year. I have to get through it, get back on the field and do what I have to do."
At the other end of the spectrum is the team's other big free agent in tight end Ben Utecht. He revealed Thursday that in the Jets game Oct. 12 he was hit in the same area of the chest where he suffered a traumatic shot on the first snap of the Sept. 14 game against the Titans that cost him a game.
The shot against the Jets cracked a rib and he sat out the next two games before returning against the Jags Nov. 2. Now he says after resting the bye week it's the best he's felt since the opener and he's eager to improve on his meager numbers of 11 catches for 78 yards.
"It's like I never had it," Utecht said, thumping his chest. "It's been a frustrating season. I wanted to come in and be a big role player. Those two chest (hits) back-to-back have really taken me out. Just bad luck."
UtechtThe devastating thing about the Utecht injury is not only did it take away an underneath weapon, but it took away offensive coordinator Bob Bratkowski's ability to use two tight-end formations, particulalry in the running game. Throw in the fact they haven't had a true fullback since Jeremi Johnson went on injured reserve the week of the opener and running the ball has not been pleasant.
Plus, Utecht's injury has probably also contributed to the struggling pass protection.
"We had a great preseason. We had a great training camp," Utecht said. "It's hard to game plan for someone you really can't throw across the middle. It's a tough injury to have, especially when you're a guy that always goes across the middle.
"The big thing is I didn't get a chance to play. That affected me the most. No tempo. The reps were so far down. That's why I'm glad I was able to come back against Jacksonville and have a couple of first-down catches, and get back into the swing."
After missing practice Wednesday, safety Chinedum Ndukwe and rookie defensive tackle Pat Sims returned Thursday. Defensive end Eric Henderson (neck) was out again, along with Odom. (Thursday Injury Report)
Also Thursday, Steve Colson, Andrew Whitworth's agent, said he formally filed the appeal of his client's $10,000 fine Wednesday and is waiting for the conference call on which the NFL will talk to him and Whitworth. "It's in the infancy stage," Colson said.