The Bengals added Brandon Joiner to their active roster yesterday, the first day he was eligible. Cincinnati signed the undrafted Arkansas State linebacker last spring, less than a month before he began a prison sentence for aggravated robbery and felony drug charges. He got out early, and instead of a halfway house he's joining the Bengals. (Jokes! We've got 'em.)
Joiner was a freshman at Texas A&M when he and another player busted down the door of a drug dealer, tied him up at gunpoint, and stole cash, marijuana, ecstasy, and hydrocodone. He was suspended, and later transferred to Arkansas State. But his case didn't wrap up until last year, when he began what was supposed to be a three-year prison sentence at the Hutchins State Jail outside of Dallas. Joiner was released in January, after just eight months, and credits the Bengals' support for helping him get through it.
"It means so much. It's one of those things that you can't help but say thank you when people give you the opportunity," Joiner said. "I was able to see a couple of the games and just know that that was my team. It's a job, but it makes it more personal to know that you are part of the family."
Joiner also says he received letters from Bengals fans while behind bars. He'll work on his conditioning, and hopes to be ready for OTAs in April. If he makes the team he could join a linebacking corps with Rey Maualuga and Vontaze Burfict, who, shockingly, would be the good citizen of the trio.