Brandon Joiner’s life and aspiring football career were put on hold last May 23 when he was sentenced to serve two concurrent three-year terms, for a 2007 robbery and felony drug charges he committed as an 18-year-old freshman at Texas A&M.
He served eight months of the term and was released on Jan. 15. The next day he was in a Killeen, Texas, gym resuming his conditioning. He is expected to report when offseason conditioning begins in mid April.
At a time when some teams would have released Joiner, the Bengals elected to stand by him and held on to his rights. He was placed on the reserve-did not report list, which meant his contract remained in limbo. He is expected to be removed from that list soon.
“It means so much, its one of those things that you can’t help but say thank you when people give you the opportunity,” Joiner said. “I was able to see a couple of the games and just know that that was my team. It’s a job but it makes it more personal to know that you are part of the family.”
During his time in a Texas prison outside Dallas, Joiner got letters and phone messages of encouragement from linebackers coach Paul Guenther.
Joiner also said that he received a couple letters from Bengals fans.
“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.”
More on this story in Saturday's Enquirer.