CINCINNATI -- Linebacker Odell Thurman was reinstated from an NFL suspension after sitting out the last two seasons.
The Cincinnati Bengals said Monday they were informed by commissioner Roger Goodell that Thurman is eligible to play. He was suspended the last two seasons because of violations of the NFL's substance abuse policy.
He had been cleared in January by the NFL to resume working out with the Bengals pending word on his status.
"Odell has met the NFL's conditions for reinstatement and has been added to our offseason roster," Bengals coach Marvin Lewis said in a statement. "It is now up to Odell to continue to meet all NFL guidelines, and to maintain a standard of personal responsibility that will allow him the chance to compete for a spot on our team."
A second-round draft pick from Georgia in 2005, Thurman started 15 games at middle linebacker, led the team in tackles and tied the team rookie record with five interceptions.
He was suspended for the first four games of the 2006 season after missing a drug test, and the suspension was extended to the full season after he was arrested for drunken driving. He pleaded no contest and was sentenced to six days in a treatment center.
Thurman hoped to be reinstated for the 2007 season, but Goodell, who has taken a hard line on player misconduct, turned him down.
His reinstatement comes less than three weeks after the Bengals cut wide receiver Chris Henry following his fifth arrest since 2005. Henry was suspended by Goodell for the first half of the 2007 season for misconduct.
Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved