Odom going top speed as he returns to Bengals’ defensive line

Published 1:26 am Friday, August 6, 2010

GEORGETOWN, Ky. — Antwan Odom zips around the Cincinnati Bengals’ training camp on a two-wheel transport, getting where he wants to go as fast as he can.

The Bengals hope the same holds true when he’s back in the lineup.

The 28-year-old defensive end has fully recovered from a torn Achilles’ tendon that ended his season after only six games. He still finished as the team’s sacks leader with eight.

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Odom sat out practice on Thursday with an illness that has bothered him the past few days, causing him to lose a little weight. It’s unclear whether he’ll play in the preseason opener on Sunday, the Hall of Fame game in Canton, Ohio, against the Dallas Cowboys.

He wants to get into a game soon.

“I’m very eager,” Odom said. “I can’t wait. I’m anxious. It’s going to be a great year for us. We’ve got a lot of key additions to the team.”

None bigger than Odom, who has been injured each of his two seasons with the Bengals. The defense finished fourth in the NFL last season without him, but struggled to get pressure on the quarterback at times.

“It’s huge having Antwan back,” defensive tackle Domata Peko said. “That’s what he does — get after the quarterbacks.”

The Bengals signed Odom from Tennessee before the 2008 season, their major offseason acquisition to help the defense. He hurt his foot during training camp and was limited to eight starts and three sacks.

Healthy at the start of last season, he emerged as one of the NFL’s best at getting to the passer. Odom had seven sacks in the first two games, an NFL record. He was tied for the league lead with eight sacks when he tore his right Achilles’ tendon on Oct. 18.

A sign of how much the Bengals missed him: Odom’s eight sacks still led the team at the end of the season.