Joseph enters diversion program for drug possession

BURLINGTON, Ky. -- Cincinnati Bengals cornerback Johnathan Joseph was allowed to enter a diversion program Thursday for
possession of marijuana.

The misdemeanor charge will be dismissed if he completes the
program, which typically includes community service or attending a
substance abuse program. A diversion officer will decide Joseph's

Boone County District Judge Michael Collins agreed to let Joseph
enter the program, which is open to first-time offenders.

Joseph was the ninth Bengals player arrested in a nine-month
span. A Boone County sheriff's deputy stopped a vehicle in which he
was a passenger on Jan. 22 and smelled marijuana.

Joseph told the deputy that he had a bag of marijuana in his
Super Bowl backpack, according to the police report. The deputy
then found the marijuana.

He is the fourth Bengals player to have a court case decided
since the season ended.

On Monday, linebacker A.J. Nicholson was sentenced to two months
in a sheriff's work program and two years' probation after pleading
no contest in Tallahassee, Fla., to burglary and grand theft.

Last month, suspended linebacker Odell Thurman pleaded no
contest to drunken driving. A hearing is scheduled for June 5 to
determine his sentence.

In January, receiver Chris Henry settled the last of his four
court cases. He spent two days in jail for letting minors drink in
a hotel room he rented. Henry could receive another suspension from
the NFL for that offense.