Tank Dodges Bullet
Tank Johnson finally got some good news Thursday when it was announced that police will not pursue drunken driving charges in connection with his arrest last month in Gilbert, Ariz.
Let’s hope for his sake that this isn’t the best thing to happen to the 25-year-old defensive tackle this year.
The Bears, of course, didn’t wait around to see how this latest brush with the law would play out. Just three days after the arrest, they waived Tank “Don’t call me Terry” Johnson.
Obviously, they had seen enough. A string of legal problems – mostly gun-related – had followed Johnson around since the Bears grabbed him with the 15th pick in the second round in 2004.
Johnson’s most famous police encounter came in December when the cops raided his house and discovered six guns – three handguns, a rifle and two assault weapons. Dude, what the hell do you need assault rifles for?
By the way, when the SWAT team stormed the house, Johnson was at practice, but his girlfriend and their two children were there. That’s a nice touch. “Don’t play with Daddy’s M16, junior.”
Let’s face it, the guy can play. In 2005, Johnson, along with Lance Briggs, Tommie Harris, Brian Urlacher and Nathan Vasher, was part of the NFL’s stingiest defence. The unit was pretty darned solid last year as well.
But of course, Johnson wound up in jail for two months this spring, and after his release, last month the NFL suspended him for half the 2007 season, part of its new no-nonsense approach, which is obviously a work in progress given the propensity for NFL players to meander outside the boundaries of the law.
Johnson’s suspension might be reduced to six games if he abides by the Commissioner’s behaviour guidelines, which include counseling sessions. I’d like to be a fly on the wall for those sessions: “So tell, me Terry…er…Tank…did you play with guns as a child because your parents wouldn’t buy you an Easy Bake oven?”
The question is, who will take a chance on Johnson and pick him up for the second half of the season? Well, there’s always the Bengals.
Of course, this leads to a larger issue. Can Roger Goodell manage to rid the NFL of its rotten core? Hey, if they can clone sheep, maybe they can also replicate model NFL citizens.
Failing that, they can always send the Bengals to the CFL.