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Odell Thurman on the right track; working out

The return of Odell Thurman is one realistic wild card this defense has that could bring instant returns without drafting or signing anyone. His just-under two year suspension froze his contract -- he'll be signed for another four seasons. Now with Odell Thurman working out, being apart of the team, Marvin Lewis is now sticking up for him.

"He's doing well; he's working extremely hard," Lewis said. "He's still got some hurdles to cross with league requirements and the opportunity to be reinstated and the opportunity to win a job. This has been very good for him. A good, positive step. It gives him something to hang his hat on, something to look forward to. It gives him the chance to take the steps to being accountable."

"He (turns) 25 years old. He's still a very young guy," Lewis said. "If he's reinstated when our offseason program opens up, at least he'll get a conditioning baseline where most guys are probably at."

"It's all the same," Lewis said. "He's a good person. He meant nobody (any) harm. He's basically been his own worst enemy for not being compliant with some league things. It's not like he's done anything egregious. But his non-compliance, and we aren't privy to all that information, put him in an awkward situation.

"Unfortunately, early on when he had an opportunity to turn this around and not make it what it has turned out to be, it didn't register. And now it has."

When Thurman was initially suspended, Lewis remarked to questions about Thurman with phrases like "he's not on the team". His softened tone really makes me believe, not only will Thurman be back after the NFL reinstates him, but he'll be one of the team's biggest difference maker. I know. I'm one optimistic son-of-a-gun.