If there is to be another Bengal who goes through a redemption story in the same manner Vontaze Burfict did this past season, it may be from a player who just joined the roster in former Arkansas State linebacker Brandon Joiner, who has been reinstated to the Bengals’ offseason 90-man roster. Shortly after the undrafted rookie linebacker signed with the Bengals in May, he was sentenced to three years in prison as a result of his involvement in 2007 robbery and felony drug charges he committed as an 18-year-old freshman at Texas A&M.
Even while Joiner was in prison, the Bengals showed support and a willingness to help him rehabilitate his image and his life one he was released:
During his time in a Texas prison outside Dallas, Joiner got letters and phone messages of encouragement from linebackers coach Paul Guenther.
At the time of his sentencing, the Bengals said Joiner’s “positive actions during the past five years, including significant community service work, graduation from Arkansas State University and an unblemished subsequent behavior record” factored into their decision to support Joiner’s opportunity to compete for a roster spot once he was released.
“The support made the time go by faster,” he said. “It’s a spiritual, mental and physical drain. You have a lot of time to think about your life and where you’re headed. Along the same time of it being a curse it was a blessing and now I have a great opportunity. When something is taken from you, you go get it and don’t look back.”
Joiner was paroled this week, leaving him free to resume his football career. The Bengals said in May that they would be retaining his rights so it would stand to reason that he’ll be on their 90-man roster and take part in the team’s offseason program. Joiner was the 2011 Sun Belt defensive player of the year at Arkansas State, where he went after leaving Texas A&M after his arrest. Joiner was also tied for fourth in the nation with 13 sacks.