According to many sources like this, Antwan Odom was looking at a four-game suspension for performance enhancing drugs. Odom has appealed the suspension and is hopeful that a reversal is coming. He is still expected to play against the Patriots on Sunday.
Of course, we now know that these were all Internet rumors. It is looking like the banned substance was taken in a prescription medication.
Here is a quick review of Antwan Odom's time spent with the Bengals and what a suspension would mean.
Prior to the 2009 season, Antwan Odom added roughly 40 pounds of muscle. Check out this article from last year, which talks about Odom's improved strength. The article even says that Odom improved so much that he was "twice as strong."
He started the season at 290 pounds. The added weight and muscle allowed Odom to play with more power and strength. The results were immediate. Odom turned in great games against Denver and Green Bay to start the season.
Many viewed Antwan Odom as a game changer after his two sack game against Denver and his huge five sack performance against the Packers in 2009. However, if you take away these games, Odom more closely resembles a bust.
Odom has recorded a sack in only six of the 18 games that he played in for the Bengals. In four of those six, he recorded one sack. Including those games, he has averaged .6 sacks per game. Take those away and the number drops to .25 sacks per game.
Odom has had trouble getting onto the field.
He missed four games and eight starts with a shoulder injury, suffered during practice in 2008. Last year, he missed 10 games with an Achilles injury.
The biggest beneficiary may be Frostee Rucker. Most expected that the Bengals would only carry eight defensive lineman. Rucker looked like the odd man out. It is possible that the Bengals were notified and went with a ninth lineman.
If Odom was ready to resume the big season he was working on in 2009, this could be a big blow to the defense. On the other hand, Odom has not done well this preseason. He was getting pushed back by second string players. He also had physical problems. He lost 20 pounds due to a virus and was dealing with the Achilles tendon injury. Given these problems, the suspension may come at a good time. He can put his weight back on and get some strength back during his time off.
Behind him on the depth chart are Frostee Rucker and Carlos Dunlap. Last year, Jonathan Fanene filled in admirably in Odom's place. They could also try Michael Johnson in that spot.