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Thurman suspended for substance-abuse violation

CINCINNATI -- Bengals middle linebacker Odell Thurman has
been suspended for the first four games of the season for violating
the NFL's substance-abuse policies.

Odell Thurman Thurman

Thurman became the team's starting middle linebacker as a rookie
last season, when the Bengals made their first playoff appearance
since 1990. Thurman was excused from the team's minicamp last month
for personal reasons.

"It's very disappointing to us that Odell has this misconduct
with league policies," coach Marvin Lewis said. "I am very
disappointed. It's something that he needs to get in line in his
life."

Thurman, 23, a second-round pick from Georgia, had 1.5 sacks and
led the team in tackles in nine games last season.

Thurman's suspension is the latest embarrassment for a team that
has had four other players arrested in recent months.