NFL suspends Bengal

Sports Network

, Last Updated: 3:24 PM ET

CINCINNATI -- The NFL on Friday suspended Cincinnati Bengals defensive end Antwan Odom for four games for violating the league's policy on performance-enhancing substances.

The suspension begins immediately and Odom will be eligible to return to the active roster on November 15 after Cincinnati's game against the Indianapolis Colts.

Last month, Odom posted a statement on his official Twitter account that he was appealing a positive test and denied that he had taken steroids or any other PEDs.

Odom's lawyer, David Cornwell, issued a statement later Friday in response to the suspension:

"The decision to suspend Antwan Odom for four games highlights the need for the NFL and the NFLPA to fix the NFL's disciplinary programs.

"Antwan did not take a steroid or any other performance enhancing substance. While driving after midnight from Alabama to Cincinnati to report to training camp, Antwan's wife mistakenly opened her prescription pill bottle instead of Antwan's and gave him one of her prescription weight loss pills instead of Antwan's medicine. Naturally, Antwan's preseason urine test was positive for his wife's medicine.

"The NFL did not dispute the facts in this case and accepted the Cincinnati Bengals' weight records showing that Antwan's target reporting weight was 275 pounds and that he actually reported at 255 pounds, confirming that Antwan had no reason to take a weight loss medicine. The steroid program's administrator, Dr. John Lombardo, testified that no competitive advantage was gained by this mistake and that no physical difference would be apparent to Antwan from taking his wife's medicine as opposed to his own.

"Harold Henderson, the hearing officer designated by commissioner [Roger] Goodell to hear Antwan's appeal, found 'credible and convincing evidence that Mr. Odom inadvertently took medicine prescribed for his wife.' Yet, Mr. Henderson concluded that as 'sympathetic as this case may be' and though a four game suspension may be 'unfairly harsh,' he lacked the authority to alter the discipline.

"While the NFL and the NFLPA maneuver for upcoming collective bargaining negotiations, Antwan's case is a stark reminder that the issues they will consider impact men's lives. The strict liability rule in the steroid program enabled the NFL's lawyers to argue that the facts did not matter in Antwan's case. Tell that to Antwan and his wife, Brooke, the Bengals and their fans, and to any fair-minded person who recognizes that as legitimate as the objectives of the NFL's steroid program may be, none of these objectives is served by Antwan's suspension."

Odom has no sacks this season after recording eight before missing the final 10 games of the 2009 campaign with a ruptured Achilles tendon.

Also on Friday, the Bengals revealed the league has fined wide receiver Terrell Owens $5,000 for violating its social media policy when he sent out a twitter message less than 90 minutes before last Sunday's game against Tampa Bay.


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