Bengals undrafted rookie linebacker Brandon Joiner has been sentenced to three years in prison for two counts of aggravated robbery and one count of felony drug possession, but the team says it stands by Joiner and still wants him to play in Cincinnati some day.
Shortly after word came out about Joiner’s sentence — which stems from an incident that took place five years ago, when Joiner played at Texas A&M — the Bengals sent PFT a statement backing Joiner.
“Brandon Joiner remains on the Bengals’ offseason roster,” the statement says. “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.”
Joiner was convicted of working with another man to break into an apartment, assault the people inside, bind them with duct tape and steal their belongings. Despite the three-year sentence, Joiner’s lawyer says he’s optimistic he will be released on parole in as little as six months.