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Bengals keeping prison-bound ex-Shoemaker star in future plans

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Posted: Saturday, May 26, 2012 6:13 am

The Cincinnati Bengals will wait on Brandon Joiner.

According to a team release, the Bengals will retain Joiner's NFL rights while the former Shoemaker defensive lineman serves a three-year prison sentence for a 2007 armed robbery. "Brandon Joiner remains on the Bengals' offseason roster," the Bengals said in the release Friday. "Though it is unlikely he will have any chance to play this season, his contract extends beyond 2012, and the club is choosing to retain his NFL rights at this time."

Joiner, the Sun Belt Conference defensive player of the year, was indicted on two aggravated robbery charges and one felony drug charge in 2008. He was sentenced Wednesday to two three-year prison terms that will run concurrently for the incident that ultimately got the former Grey Wolves' standout and former teammate Yemi Babalola kicked off the Texas A&M football team.

According to police documents, Joiner and Babalola broke into a College Station apartment complex on Nov. 29, 2007, and robbed a known drug dealer at gunpoint, binding him and another man with duct tape and stealing cash, car keys, a cellphone and drugs. A police search at Joiner's home found marijuana, hydrocodone and Ecstacy.

In 2010, Joiner and his attorney worked out a plea deal that dropped one of two aggravated robbery charges down to robbery and allowed Joiner an opportunity to graduate from college.

"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," the statement read.

As a senior at Arkansas State, Joiner posted a conference-leading 12 sacks this season to lead the Red Wolves to a 10-2 season and an undefeated run to the Sun Belt conference title. His 12 sacks ranked fourth in the nation last season and he had at least an assisted sack in 10 of his final 12 games.

Defense attorney Jay Granberry said Joiner will be eligible for parole in nine months, possibly sooner with good behavior.

"He's a good man, and regardless of what happens with this thing and how long he's in prison," Granberry said, "he is going to be an inspiration for a lot of kids because of the way he's come back from this."

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