SKOKIE, Ill. -- Chicago Bears defensive lineman Tank Johnson
was sentenced Thursday to four months in jail for violating
probation in a 2005 gun case.
Johnson immediately was taken into custody. He could have been
sentenced to up to a year behind bars.
Johnson, who pleaded guilty to violating his probation, also
must pay a $2,500 fine.
Johnson was arrested on misdemeanor weapons charges Dec. 14
after police raided his home in the Lake County town of Gurnee,
about 40 miles northwest of Chicago, and found six unregistered
At the time, he was on probation in a November 2005 Cook County
case. In that case, he'd pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge
stemming from an arrest in which a nightclub valet reported seeing
Johnson with a handgun in his sport utility vehicle.
Johnson's lawyers said they had not yet decided whether to
appeal the ruling, but suggested the football player's celebrity
influenced the sentence.
"This sentence was unnecessarily harsh," defense attorney
Lorna Propes said. "It's pretty unheard of for these
Prosecutor Rick Cenar called the sentence "fair and
Dressed in a gray suit, Johnson arrived at the courtroom
Thursday with coach Lovie Smith and All-Pro linebacker Brian
Urlacher, who testified on Johnson's behalf.
"Tank knows he's in a situation where he can't get into any
other trouble," Smith said, adding jail time would be
"devastating" for the player's career. "And he's let me know
there won't be any more."
Before he was sentenced Johnson pleaded with Cook County Circuit
Judge John Moran for leniency.
"Your honor, I don't believe I'm a man who belongs in jail,"
But Cenar said jail time was appropriate.
"Just because he's a professional football player and plays for
the Chicago Bears, doesn't put him above the law," Cenar said.
Moran also sentenced Johnson to 84 days in-home confinement,
which he already has served.
Johnson's bodyguard, Willie B. Posey, was arrested on felony
drug charges after the raid on Johnson's home. Posey was shot and
killed two days later during an early morning fight while he and
Johnson were at a nightclub in Chicago.
The Bears suspended Johnson for one game for being out at the
He has been under house arrest since the raid, but was permitted
to attend practice and travel to Miami for the Super Bowl, where
the Indianapolis Colts beat the Chicago Bears 29-17.
Just days after returning from Miami, Johnson pleaded guilty to
violating his probation in the 2005 case. He has pleaded not guilty
to the Lake County charges in the latest arrest