CINCINNATI (Bengals.com) - Citing support ranging from his college head coach to Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe, the Bengals are also standing by Arkansas State linebacker Brandon Joiner and are retaining his rights that go beyond this season.
Joiner, who signed a free-agent contract with the Bengals last month after being named the Sun Belt Co-Defensive Player of the Year, was sentenced this week to three years in prison stemming from a 2007 incident when he was a freshman at Texas A&M and the club says it is unlikely he'll play this year.
The Bengals, as well as his supporters, have been impressed by Joiner's heavy community service and his clean record in the aftermath of the incident. In a statement they released Friday, the Bengals said they're going to keep Joiner on the roster.
"Brandon must serve a sentence for a crime he was convicted of in 2007 -- when he was 18," the Bengals said. "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."
Jay Granberry, Joiner's attorney, told theeagle.com that with good behavior Joiner could be paroled 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 told theeagle.com. "There are a lot of people rooting for Brandon and I'm convinced he's not going to let anyone down."