CINCINNATI - A college free agent who recently signed with the Cincinnati Bengals will not be playing football any time soon. However, the organization will keep rookie linebacker Brandon Joiner who was sentenced this week for a robbery conviction.
Joiner, 23, was sentenced to three years in prison Wednesday for his role in a 2007 robbery of a drug dealer while he was a freshman at Texas A&M. Police say Joiner and another player assaulted, bound and robbed two people inside an apartment in College Station, Texas. He was already serving probation for one of the aggravated robbery counts when he was sentenced. The second count was reduced to robbery, according to theeagle.com .
The former Arkansas State standout, who was named the Sun Belt Co-Defensive Player of the Year, signed with the Bengals in April after going undrafted.
Prosecutor Brian Price said the timing of the sentence was about Joiner graduating and had nothing to do with football, according to WTAW in Brazos County, Texas. A plea agreement was reached in January.
Despite the prison sentence, the Bengals decided to retain Joiner's rights beyond this season, meaning he could join the team after he completes his sentence.
Joiner's attorney, Jay Granberry, said he was hopeful his client could be released on parole in six to nine months.
“Since this incident, Brandon has conducted himself in an exemplary fashion and I’m sure he will continue to do that,” Granberry said. “There are a lot of people rooting for Brandon and I’m convinced he’s not going to let anyone down.”
The Bengals released the following statement on Friday:
"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."
Copyright 2012 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
Top Bengals News
A warrant has been issued for the arrest of former NFL wide receiver Chad Johnson in South Florida.
Linebacker James Harrison is bringing his impressive career and his sizeable training staff to Cincinnati, motivated in part by the way things ended in Pittsburgh.