Linebacker Brandon Joiner, an undrafted free agent following the 2012 NFL draft, finally joined the Bengals this year after serving time in prison for a crime committed in 2007. Along with having an opportunity to make the NFL and accomplishing a dream, Joiner is grateful to the Bengals for keeping that door opened for him.
"I'm really grateful for them. I just want to show them that they did the right thing. I feel like I'm in debt, that I owe them everything I have and I want to give them everything I have for this team."
Joiner also has a friend currently living in the Arkansas Governor's Mansion, writes Bengals.com.
"He's a good guy. This is the kind of story you like to talk about," (Arkansas Governor Mike) Beebe says late Thursday afternoon from Little Rock and the executive mansion, recalling the crucifix Joiner made for him out of braided leather that Christmas that Joiner spent in jail before leading ASU into a bowl game.
"Kids mess up. They do foolish things. We probably have all done stupid things when we're young. He went over the line," Beebe says. "He did what he had to do. He paid his dues. He's a class guy."
As Hobson pointed out, it'll be tough for Joiner to make the squad at SAM, behind James Harrison, Aaron Maybin and another undrafted free agent Jayson DiManche. But after watching Vontaze Burfict and Emmanuel Lamur, other college free agents that make the squad last year, Joiner knows he has a chance.
"I was able to watch them play Dallas and Houston," Joiner says of Burfict and Lamur (via Bengals.com). "I was saying, 'They're my boys.' They were balling, too. I was thinking, 'Right now it's their turn. I'll get my chance.'"