Monday, June 2, 2008
Updated: June 3, 8:48 AM ET
Thurman reportedly violates substance abuse policy again
By James Walker
Former Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Odell Thurman is facing an indefinite suspension after violating the NFL's substance abuse policy for the second time in three seasons, according to a report on SI.com.
Thurman's representative, Safarrah Lawson, said he was unaware of the situation when contacted by ESPN.com Monday night. Thurman was released by the Bengals on May 19.
"As far as I know we're suppose to see some teams next week," Lawson said. "We've talked to some people and we got some visits set up. If something happened, it's a development that just unfolded. But I don't have any knowledge of it."
Lawson added that he couldn't confirm or deny the report. Usually players are notified of league violations before agents and representatives, and Lawson had yet to talk to Thurman once the report surfaced Monday night.
The process of Thurman searching for another team had been delayed in recent weeks because the linebacker was still grieving the recent death of his grandmother.
"I will tell you, the death in his family he has taken extremely hard, much harder than I would've even thought,'' Lawson said. "To lose the last remnant of his family [affected him]."
Thurman was reinstated on April 21 after a two-year suspension for violating the league's substance abuse and conduct policies. Less than a month later, the Bengals released him with coach Marvin Lewis saying, "we have not seen the right steps taken by him."
Thurman, a second-round draft pick from Georgia, showed promise as a rookie in 2005, when he led the team in tackles and led all NFL rookies with five interceptions. He was suspended for the first four games of the 2006 season after failing to show up for a drug test.
Commissioner Roger Goodell extended the suspension to a full season when Thurman was arrested for drunken driving; wide receiver Chris Henry -- who was also released by the Bengals -- was a passenger in the vehicle, but wasn't charged. Goodell later extended Thurman's suspension through the 2007 season as well, setting conditions for his return.
James Walker covers the NFL for ESPN.com. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.