CINCINNATI (AP) -Odell Thurman's petition for reinstatement was denied Thursday by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, who decided that the Cincinnati Bengals middle linebacker should miss another season because of his ongoing problems.
Thurman was suspended for all of last season after skipping a drug test and later being arrested for drunken driving. He asked Goodell to reinstate him for the 2007 season, but was turned down.
Thurman will be allowed to ask for reinstatement again after the season.
Goodell's decision left the Bengals with two suspended players as they opened training camp. Receiver Chris Henry will miss the first eight games for repeatedly violating the league's conduct policy - he has been arrested four times.
Thurman's teammates had expected him back and wondered what made Goodell turn him down. The Bengals were not given a reason for his decision.
"I thought he was going to be reinstated, and if that's the direction the league is going to take, that's pretty hard-core," defensive end Justin Smith said, after reporting for training camp in Georgetown, Ky.
The Bengals are the league's prime example of misconduct, with 10 players arrested over a 14-month span. Thurman and Henry have been repeatedly suspended by the league.
The team had no comment about Thurman's extended suspension. League spokesman Greg Aiello said the NFL wouldn't comment because of privacy provisions in its substance abuse policy.
At a media luncheon on Tuesday, owner Mike Brown supported Thurman, a second-round draft pick out of Georgia who led the team in tackles as a rookie in 2005.
"Odell has been through a difficult time," Brown said. "He's worked hard to bring himself back. It's the call of the league (about reinstatement). I know one thing: If he can get back, he's a good player."
Thurman was suspended for the first four games of last season because he skipped a drug test. He was arrested for drunken driving last September, prompting Goodell to extend the suspension to the full season.
The Bengals finished 8-8 last season, when their defense dragged them down again. Cincinnati's pass defense was tied for worst in the league.
Thurman pleaded no contest to drunken driving in February and was allowed to enter a treatment program. On June 1, a judge in Cincinnati suspended all but six days of a 90-day sentence, and ordered Thurman to serve those six days at a treatment center.
That wasn't the end of his problems.
Two men in Monticello, Ga., filed a complaint alleging that Thurman kicked and hit them at a party two days after he appeared in court to settle the drunken driving case in Cincinnati. Thurman, who is from Georgia, was accused of assaulting the two men following an argument at a home.
The two men later dropped their complaint, and the case was dismissed without charges filed.
"Aside from football, we just hope he gets himself better and gets himself out of trouble," quarterback Carson Palmer said. "Whether it's the football field, an office or whatever his future may hold for him, we just hope the best for him."