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Brandon Joiner's Personal Hell

Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Brandon Joiner will compete for a position this year, but needed to conquer his own hell first.

Working at a common pleas court my personal experience is vastly different than say most people. People get into trouble with the law, are brought into the courthouse to answer for their actions and deal with the consequences. Some decent further into a cycle of crime while others use those moments as a launching point to make adjustments in their lives and grow.

Bengals linebacker Brandon Joiner is such a person. After being sentenced to prison for crimes committed as an 18-year old, Joiner was released after several months and returned to the NFL team that originally signed him before his sentence.

Kevin Posival at writes on Brandon Joiner's experiences, calling it the moment that changed everything.

For six days in early December of 2007, he was surrounded on all sides by the cold, concrete walls of the Brazos County Jail. He tried to rest, but the 6-foot-3, 255-pound Joiner was given only a mat made for pre-kindergarten children. The blanket was little more than pocket lint out of a pair of jeans. If he folded his clothes, that was his pillow.

For 23 hours a day, he shared the long, narrow holding cell with as many as seven other men. They were given one hour in another room to play cards and dominoes. Joiner didn’t play; he’d seen too many games that led to fights. Mostly, Joiner watched television or read his Bible and tried not to think about what was going on in the outside world. That would have made him crazy. He’d listen to other people’s stories. Sometimes they were funny.

Read the piece. It's a good one.