Cincinnati Bengals  

 

Bengals DL Odom to play while appealing positive drug test

Cincinnati Bengals defensive lineman Antwan Odom tested positive for a substance banned by the NFL, but he expects to be cleared of any wrongdoing because the element is contained in a prescribed medication, a source with knowledge of the situation said Friday.

Odom hasn't been notified of any suspension -– he has been told of the positive test result -- and he is expected to play in the Bengals' season opener Sunday at New England, the source said.

Odom is appealing the positive test, but it isn't known how long that process would take. He is expected to be allowed to play through that process.

The source said Odom takes medications for certain medical conditions but wouldn't specify those conditions or the prescribed medications. The positive test result didn't involve performance-enhancing drugs, recreational drugs or alcohol, the source said.

Odom said as much on his Twitter page Thursday night:

"To my fans and teammates: Please don't believe the rumors. Yes, I tested positive for banned a substance but it wasn't steroids or PEDs. More details to come but for now it's a league issue that's under appeal. Just know that I would never cheat to gain an edge in this game that I love. Don't lose your faith in me and please don't pass judgment based on vicious rumors until all the facts are known. Thanks you for all your support. I really need it now. I love all of you.”

There is a provision in the NFL's banned-substance policy that allows players to take prescription medicines that could contain banned substances or elements of a banned substance.

Odom wasn't available Friday during the Bengals' open locker room period. Coach Marvin Lewis said there was no change in the status of Odom's appeal.

"It's something that's been ongoing for a while," Lewis said. "Obviously a couple guys played last night (in the New Orleans Saints' 14-9 victory over the Minnesota Vikings) who have been through that who are still playing."

Odom, 28, tore his right Achilles' tendon just six games into last season. He still led the team in sacks with eight despite his injury.

Odom has fully recovered from the injury. He missed time during training camp because of an illness and a sore knee, but he is expected to rejuvenate a defensive line that made pressuring the quarterback a priority this season.

The Bengals signed Odom as a free agent from the Tennessee Titans in 2008, their major offseason acquisition to help the defense. A foot injury limited Odom to eight starts and three sacks in his first season with the Bengals.

Last season, Odom emerged as one of the NFL's best at getting to the passer. He has seven sacks in the first two games, an NFL record. He was tied for the league lead when he tore his Achilles' tendon Oct. 18.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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