Why do Bengals sign troubled players?

May, 25, 2012
5/25/12
1:47
PM ET
There are so many positives surrounding the Bengals' organization these days. They're coming off a surprising playoff season. They are returning two young offensive stars in A.J. Green and Andy Dalton. And they're having one of the best offseasons of any team in the league.

Then, like so many times over the past year, the franchise's name is getting put in the headline with another player in legal trouble. Bengals undrafted rookie Brandon Joiner was sentenced Wednesday to three years in prison on charges stemming from a 2007 incident that occurred when he was playing at Texas A&M, according to the Bryan-College Station Eagle.

Technically, Joiner didn't get in trouble while being a member of the Bengals. That still doesn't answer the bigger question: Why do the Bengals get involved with such players? Why are they bringing in a player with this type of history? I understand that football players are hardly choir boys, but Joiner was indicted in January 2008 for robbing a drug dealer at gunpoint.

The Bengals should be the last team taking a chance on Joiner. They've had four players get in trouble with the law over the past 10 months: running back Cedric Benson, cornerback Adam Jones, wide receiver Jerome Simpson and linebacker Rey Maualuga. Benson and Jones both had legal incidents before the Bengals signed them.

In other news, the Bengals signed first-round pick Kevin Zeitler, the team announced. Of course, this positive move is overshadowed by another player in a courtroom.

Jamison Hensley

ESPN Ravens reporter

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