Following a failed appeal, Bengals DE Antwan Odom has been suspended four games for violating the league's policy on performance-enhancing substances.
Odom tweeted in September that he had tested positive for a banned substance but that rumors of him testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs or steroids were false. However, he has not elaborated on what the substance was that caused the positive test.
It took more than a month for the league to deny Odom's appeal to overturn the league-mandated four-game suspension and uphold its decision.
Odom had been struggling this season, recording just four tackles in four starts. DE Frostee Rucker is expected to take over Odom's starting spot at right defensive end.
The seven-year veteran has had an injury-hampered three years with the Bengals. He signed with the club as a free agent in 2008 but missed four games that season with a foot injury. Last season, Odom had nine sacks before suffering a ruptured Achilles tendon in Week Six and going down for the season. Then, early this preseason, he lost 20 pounds because of a virus before gaining most of the weight back.
The way we see it
Odom, who clearly has not been himself this season, was already expected to miss 2-3 weeks with a knee injury, so the timing worked out well for him to try to get back to full health upon his return.
Michael Johnson and Jonathan Fanene are likely the top options to replace Odom for the time being. Johnson, listed as a backup outside linebacker on the depth chart, started in Week Five instead of Odom at right defensive end. Fanene, limited to one game this season because of a hamstring injury, replaced the injured Odom last year and notched a career-best six sacks. Fanene, who returned to practice Wednesday, is listed as the second-string left end behind Robert Geathers.
Frostee Rucker, listed as the top backup to Odom on the depth chart, is another option. He has appeared in five games as a reserve this season, notching five tackles and a sack. Rookie DE Carlos Dunlap, listed as the third-string right end, has appeared in just one game.
The Bengals' defense has struggled to pressure opposing QBs this season and ranks tied for 28th in the NFL with just six sacks.