Why was Odell Thurman cut from the Bengals? For missing voluntary minicamps, says the team:
"The NFL provided Odell the opportunity to earn his way back onto our team, but we have not seen the right steps taken by him," Lewis said. "With our offseason work in progress and new talent added at our linebacker position, we've determined it's best to keep moving in a direction that does not include Odell."...
[Thurman's agent John] Michels said "it''s purely a money issue right now" because the Bengals have a pending grievance against Thurman.
Cut and dry, right? Well the article also notes that Thurman's agent Michels is considering grievences, or at least leaves open the possibility of that in the future. So what's the big deal, can't the team cut a player for missing a voluntary mini camp?
Players aren't obligated to attend and can't be cut for not attending the voluntary sessions.
Yea, but, since he's a Bengal and all he was probably off being a criminal and doing other untoward stuff, right? Errrrrrrr...
If reports are true, and the Bengals are releasing Odell Thurman for missing VOLUNTARY workouts several days after the death of his grandmother, then I officially find this to be incredibly low. Abandoning your family for VOLUNTARY workouts? Who would do that?
That's pretty callous on a guy who has, as far as I can tell, exactly one brush with the law on a DWI he picked up the night of a 28-20 victory over the division rival Steelers in which he caught two touchdowns. That's not an excuse of his totally irresponsible and indefensible driving while intoxicated arrest, but he didn't murder or hurt anyone (besides himself). Per the ESPN article linked above:
The average sentence for a first-time offender in Ohio is three days in jail or an alcohol-education program and a $500 fine, he said.
Bengals linebacker Odell Thurman pleaded no contest today to driving drunk last September and said he was undergoing treatment for alcohol abuse.
Though it should be noted that Thurman was not required to start that sentence at the time, and indeed it could be reduced (perhaps entirely?) were he to remain sober as of June 5th of last year. I don't know whether he remained sober as of June 5th of last year, but I assume that to be the case because I don't recall hearing about him spending 90 days in jail.
The real problem for Thurman was not via the law but via his employer, as he failed a drug test I believe in his rookie season, thus prompting a full season long suspension after the DWI incident. I applaud the league's much-less-tolerant-than-MLB drug policy, but let's be clear that alcohol after a game is not a performance enhancing drug, the kind of which most fans are concerned with in regards to the league's drug testing policy.
In any event, Thurman made his own bed. The question is whether or not we're willing to sleep in it with him. Answer: No, per Redskins Insider:
Been poking around on this and see no evidence of Skins interest at all to this point and would be shocked if they put in a waiver claim (heard they did not, in fact). Thurman's next slip up, should there be one, could keep him out of the league for a long, long time and he's already been away for the game for the past two seasons due to substance abuse violations.
Jason goes on to note that Thurman is a MLB and we've already got a great backup there in The Hamburglar. My closing arguments on the matter:
1) It wouldn't bother me if the team does or doesn't sign Thurman. I think the linebacking unit is not as deep as it could be, and Thurman is still on a cheap contract. I think he'd help our depth and wouldn't cost much in the process, so there's good reason to add him. Then again, he's risky enough a prospect (and effed up enough over the past few years) that it's no sweat off my back if the team walks the other way.
2) I don't know if I agree with the Bengals cutting a guy for missing voluntary workouts just days after his Grandmother dies. That seems excessive, though there are always two sides to every story and the Bengals are far more familiar with the player than I am. Still, don't we all love our Grandmas? At the very least... wasn't the timing wrong on this move?
Post your own thoughts below. Anyone want this guy bad? Exceedingly thrilled we aren't (apparently) interested? I think I'll attach a poll.