There are so many positives surrounding the Bengals' organization these days. They're coming off a surprising playoff season. They are returning two young offensive stars in A.J. Green and Andy Dalton. And they're having one of the best offseasons of any team in the league.
Then, like so many times over the past year, the franchise's name is getting put in the headline with another player in legal trouble. Bengals undrafted rookie Brandon Joiner was sentenced Wednesday to three years in prison on charges stemming from a 2007 incident that occurred when he was playing at Texas A&M, according to the Bryan-College Station Eagle.
Technically, Joiner didn't get in trouble while being a member of the Bengals. That still doesn't answer the bigger question: Why do the Bengals get involved with such players? Why are they bringing in a player with this type of history? I understand that football players are hardly choir boys, but Joiner was indicted in January 2008 for robbing a drug dealer at gunpoint.
The Bengals should be the last team taking a chance on Joiner. They've had four players get in trouble with the law over the past 10 months: running back Cedric Benson, cornerback Adam Jones, wide receiver Jerome Simpson and linebacker Rey Maualuga. Benson and Jones both had legal incidents before the Bengals signed them.
*UPDATE: The Bengals plan to keep Joiner on their offseason roster. Here's the official statement:
"Though it is unlikely he will have any chance to play this season, his contract extends beyond 2012, and the Club is choosing to retain his NFL rights at this time. Brandon must serve a sentence for a crime he was convicted of in 2007 -- when he was 18. But his positive actions during the past five years, including significant community service work, graduation from Arkansas State University and an unblemished subsequent behavior record, have generated a group of active supporters that includes Mike Beebe, the Governor of Arkansas, and Hugh Freeze, Brandon's head coach at Arkansas State and now head coach at Mississippi. In kind, the Bengals support Brandon's future opportunity for a career in the NFL."