Cedric Benson wasn’t the only former Bear who got a crack at his old team on Sunday, when Cincinnati stomped Chicago by 35 points.
The Bears picked defensive tackle Tank Johnson in round two of the 2004 draft. After a series of legal issues, the Bears gave up on Johnson, who initially landed with the Cowboys before joining the Bengals earlier this year as an unrestricted free agent.
So after getting a piece of the Bears, Johnson had to deal with one of the lingering legal entanglements that made headlines during his time in Chicago. Specifically, Johnson testified in a murder trial.
Once on the stand, Johnson discussed the events of an evening in December 2006. Michael Selvie bumped into Johnson several times at a club while Johnson was dancing with a woman. Selvie then fought with Willie Posey, Johnson’s best friend.
Johnson said that the fight continued after security intervened, and that he then heard a gunshot and took cover. After emerging from behind a couch (which probably wasn’t bulletproof), Johnson found Posey lying on the floor.
Earlier that month, police found six unregistered firearms at Johnson’s home, which resulted in a violation of probation arising from an earlier weapons charge. He was sentenced to 120 days in jail, served 60, and then told the media after being freed that he’d accept whatever punishment NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell might impose.
Even after Johnson received an eight-game suspension, the Bears continued to support him.
“I’ve been through a lot and I think the more important thing to look
at now is that I’m at the end of the road with all of this stuff and
it’s time for a new beginning,” Johnson said at the time.
The “new beginning” included, before the end of the same month in which it started, an arrest for suspicion of DUI.
The Bears had enough, and they cut him days later.
“We are upset and embarrassed by Tank’s actions last week,” G.M. Jerry Angelo said in June 2007. “He compromised the credibility of our organization. We made it
clear to him that he had no room for error. Our goal was to help
someone through a difficult period in his life but the effort needs to
come from both sides. It didn’t and we have decided to move on.”
But Johnson was never charged with drunk driving after his blood-alcohol concentration was measured at only 0.072 percent, 0.008 percent below the legal limit.
Tuesday’s testimony should finally put in Johnson’s rear-view mirror his dark days of 2006 and 2007. To his credit, he has stayed out of any trouble for more than two years.