CINCINNATI -- Bengals linebacker Odell Thurman pleaded no
contest Wednesday to driving drunk last September and said he was
undergoing treatment for alcohol abuse.
Hamilton County Municipal Court Judge John Burlew imposed a
90-day jail sentence but said Thurman did not have to start serving
it yet. Another court hearing was set for June 5, at which the
judge said he planned to reduce the sentence if Thurman, 23,
continues treatment and has no other alcohol-related offenses.
He suspended Thurman's driver's license for a year and fined him
$250 and court costs.
The plea is not an admission of guilt but means the defendant
will not fight charges. Two charges stemming from the early morning Sept.
25 traffic stop were dropped.
After the arrest, the NFL suspended Thurman for the season. He
had already been serving a four-game suspension from the league for
missing an offseason drug test.
Thurman was a second-round draft pick out of Georgia in 2005 and
started 15 games as a rookie. He led the team in tackles, tied for
the lead in forced fumbles, and had five interceptions, the most by
any rookie in the NFL. He can apply for reinstatement by the NFL
before next season.
Thurman is among nine Bengals players arrested on various
charges in less than a year, and coach Marvin Lewis has indicated
he is no longer in the team's plans.