CINCINNATI -- Coach Marvin Lewis expects middle linebacker
Odell Thurman to be suspended for the rest of the season following
his arrest early Monday on a drunken driving charge, making him the
sixth Cincinnati Bengal arrested this year.
Thurman, already serving a four-game suspension for violating
the NFL's substance abuse policy, could get an additional one-year
suspension from the league.
The arrest came less than a week after commissioner Roger
Goodell visited Cincinnati and reminded players of their
responsibility to stay out of trouble and represent the league
honorably. It also drew Lewis' most stinging comments since
receiver Chris Henry was arrested last December, starting the
streak of court appearances by Bengals players.
Henry and receiver Reggie McNeal were passengers in the sport
utility vehicle Thurman was driving Monday, but were not charged.
Police said Thurman registered 0.18 percent on a blood alcohol
test, more than twice the legal limit of 0.08.
"I am not pleased," Lewis said. "It's not right, it's not
what we stand for, it's not what the National Football League
Thurman, a second-round draft pick from Georgia last year,
started all but one game during the Bengals' first winning season
and first playoff appearance since 1990. The league suspended him
in the offseason for missing a drug test.
He was arrested at 3 a.m. Monday, a few hours after the
team returned from a 28-20 victory in Pittsburgh. Henry had five
catches for 69 yards and a pair of touchdowns in that game.
Police Capt. Dan Gerard said an officer working near a DUI
checkpoint on the city's east side saw Thurman drive the sport
utility vehicle across a double yellow line and stopped him.
Although police declined to identify the two Bengals who were
passengers, McNeal told The Associated Press he and Henry also were
in the vehicle.
McNeal declined to go into detail about what happened or why
Thurman was driving.
"Just a misunderstanding," McNeal said, as he left Paul Brown
Stadium on Monday afternoon.
Thurman was given the breath test, then released to a sober
companion who drove him home, Gerard said. He is scheduled for a
court appearance on Oct. 2, the day his four-game suspension ends.
If convicted, Thurman could get a tougher sentence because of
the high blood-alcohol level, Sgt. Jon Payer said. 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.
Lewis expects Thurman to get an additional punishment from the
league. Another violation of its substance abuse policy brings a
minimum one-year suspension in addition to the one he is already
"He just obviously doesn't understand the privilege and the
right to play in the National Football League," Lewis said. "This
will probably be dealt with very severely."
Lewis has repeatedly drafted players who were in trouble with
the law or their coaches during their college careers, and has
steadfastly defended them following their arrests once they joined
the Bengals. He came down harshly on Thurman, but sidestepped
questions about the teammates that were with him.
"It's socially and morally not right to be -- if by the test
that is true -- that you are intoxicated behind the wheel," Lewis
said. "It's not correct. It's not right for our society, and I
think that's a bad message. These guys all have the ability to do
the right thing and call a cab or do whatever it takes."
Henry has been arrested four times and convicted twice, avoiding
jail time so far. He pleaded guilty to marijuana possession in
northern Kentucky, and this month pleaded guilty to a weapon charge
in Orlando, Fla.