Bengals to Release Odell Thurman

Bengals.com is reporting that the team will release the troubled linebacker. The Bengals have not given a reason for letting him go, but profootballtalk.com is reporting that it’s due to his absence from the voluntary workouts last week. If that’s true, there’s likely a grievance in the offing.

Update: It’s official. Thurman has been cut. Head coach Marvin Lewis on why:

“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 in the statement. “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.”

Initial reaction from my corner? This is bogus. The Bengals are hardly flush with talent at linebacker. Landon Johnson is in Carolina. Ahmad Brooks may not be ready in time for the season as he continues his recovery from groin surgery. And while first round pick Keith Rivers has tons of potential, he’s still a rookie.

Certainly, Odell has no one to blame but himself for ending up in the spot he’s in — but still, he just got shafted today. And so too may have Bengals fans.

Update 2: Knee-jerk reactions from around the Web:

Over at cincyjungle, Kirkendall From has this to say:

If all these reports are true, then this is just another example of how classless and clueless Lewis and the Bengals really are. I liked my blinders, but they’re getting too thin to cover my eyes.

To which I can only add, yup.

Meanwhile, fans tear into the Bengals on message boards over Odell’s release. Even posters on the team’s official boards are up in arms.

Update 3: The Cincinnati Enquirer’s Mark Curnutte reports that Odell will not file grievance over his release, and that at least two teams have already contacted Thurman’s agent. Thurman is subject to clearing waivers before he can be signed as a free agent.

Update 4: More reaction and Odell notes flow in.

Profootballtalk.com, which initially broke the story, chimes back in to point out that the Bengals’ explaination for cutting Thurman doesn’t deny they did it because he skipped “voluntary” workouts. Cincinnati Enquirer columnist Paul Daugherty thinks that there is more to Thurman’s release, though, pointing to reports that Odell won’t file a grievance over being released. However, Florio talks with an NFL source who says a grievance would be a waste of time.

A league source tells us that there would have been no real benefit to Thurman for filing a grievance. Calling it a “sham process” aimed at creating the illusion of recourse, the source said that a victory would have only gotten Thurman reinstated — and as a practical matter would have guaranteed a decision to include him in preseason roster cuts under the guise of poor performance relative to the other players with whom he would have been competing for a job.

While Odell’s camp says at least two teams have been in touch, others think this may be the end of the line for him. Here at Stripe Hype, we hope Wilkening is wrong.

Update 5,827: Thurman’s agent tells profootballtalk.com that they have not ruled out filing a grievance.

Geoff Hobson’s opinion here.

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