NFL Notebook: Bengals near end of line with LB
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Coach Marvin Lewis refused to talk about suspended linebacker Odell Thurman yesterday, another indication that he has written him out of the Cincinnati Bengals' plans.
Thurman was suspended for the season because he violated the NFL's substance abuse policy. He can apply to the league for reinstatement before next season.
Lewis has been upset with the middle linebacker's repeated off-field problems, and took his locker away when the NFL handed down its suspension. Thurman was told to stay away from the team.
"Odell is not a member of this football team," Lewis said. "He's on suspension by the NFL. He's got a long road to go. I'm not even going to spend any time talking about Odell. We're talking about our '07 season. He's not part of this football team."
Coach Tony Dungy has no plans for returning to college, even if he gets a call from his alma mater, Minnesota. Dungy denied a report out of Minneapolis saying he was near the top of the Golden Gophers' wish list and that there was mutual interest. The job opened Sunday when coach Glen Mason was fired. Dungy, 51, played with the Gophers from 1973-76 and was the school's career leader in yards passing (3,577) and touchdowns (25) when he graduated. ... Safety Bob Sanders is expected to play Saturday when the team opens the playoffs against Kansas City. Sanders said his injured knee was feeling better than it has in weeks and planned to practice this week.
Detroit fired defensive coordinator Donnie Henderson and offensive line coach Larry Beightol, two days after finishing a 3-13 season. Longtime special teams coach Chuck Priefer also announced his retirement. Priefer will be replaced by his assistant, Stan Kwan. ... General manager Matt Millen said that quitting is not an option he has considered despite criticism of the team's dismal performance in his tenure. "I'll never quit," Millen said in an interview with a small group of reporters, including The Detroit News, which posted some of his comments on its Web site. "I can't do that. I don't even consider that. It's the way I'm made." Detroit is an NFL-worst 24-72 since Millen took control of football operations before the 2001 season.
Coach Jack Del Rio fired five assistants -- offensive coordinator Carl Smith, special teams coordinator Pete Rodriguez, quarterbacks coach Ken Anderson, wide receivers coach Steve Walters and also declined to renew the contract of special teams assistant Mark Michaels.
Starting cornerback Corey Webster was placed on the season-ending injured reserve list with toe and hip problems. Webster was reinjured Saturday against the Redskins.
The NFL ruled hat a block by Titans receiver Bobby Wade that injured Patriots safety Rodney Harrison Sunday was legal. ... Quarterback Koy Detmer returned to the Eagles to provide insurance behind starter Jeff Garcia and backup A.J. Feeley and replace punter Dirk Johnson as the holder for kicker David Akers.
First Published January 3, 2007 12:00 am