Police charge Johnson after finding guns at home

Updated: December 15, 2006, 8:20 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Chicago Bears defensive tackle Tank Johnson was charged Thursday with not having a gun owner identification card after six firearms were found at his Gurnee home.

Tank Johnson
Johnson

The misdemeanor charge carries a penalty of up to a year in jail upon conviction, said Jeff Pavletic, first assistant state's attorney in Lake County.

Gurnee Police issued a warrant and searched Johnson's home, coach Lovie Smith said.

Johnson, the Bears' starting nose guard, didn't practice Thursday and was driven away from Halas Hall by a Bears security official.

Johnson turned himself in to Gurnee police, posted bond and was released Thursday night, Police Chief Robert Jones told a news conference.

OTL: Athletes and Guns
ESPN's Outside The Lines recently examined the issues surrounding athletes who choose to own and carry firearms. For story and video, click here.

"It definitely is a concern because Tank has had to deal with some things like this in the past. Yes, it definitely is a concern," Smith said before charges were filed.

He added that it was a distraction for the playoff-bound team.

Police told the Chicago Tribune that a 26-year-old male and a 25-year-old female were in the home with a toddler and an infant when the police conducted their search.

According to the Tribune, a man was led from the home in handcuffs by police.

Witnesses told the Tribune that at least 20 police officers took part in the raid.

Unless specifically exempted by statute, all Illinois residents who buy or possess firearms are required by law to have a valid Firearm Owner's Identification card. They are issued by the Illinois State Police.

In November 2005, Johnson was sentenced to 18 months probation and 40 hours' community service after pleading guilty to a misdemeanor gun charge. He was arrested was arrested earlier in 2005 after a nightclub valet reported seeing Johnson with a handgun in his sport utility vehicle.

Johnson also was arrested last February after a confrontation outside a Chicago nightclub, but the charges were dropped after the police officer he allegedly scuffled with decided not to continue the prosecution.

Losing Johnson would be a major blow to the Bears, who've already clinched a playoff berth by winning the NFC North. Chicago is also without Pro Bowl defensive tackle Tommie Harris, who underwent surgery Tuesday for a torn hamstring.

Johnson was a second-round draft pick of the Bears out of Washington in 2004.

"I'm disappointed," Smith said at practice. "Of course we're disappointed that something like this is coming up. We're constantly talking about our players, about doing the right thing, and our players do the right thing the majority of the time. But sometimes things like this come up."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

ALSO SEE