Bears' Johnson won't play Sunday against Bucs

Updated: December 15, 2006, 7:52 PM ET
Associated Press

 Tank Johnson
Johnson
LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Tank Johnson has found himself in his third legal entanglement in the last 18 months and Chicago Bears general manager Jerry Angelo says it's time for the nose tackle to clean up his behavior.

"He's made bad decisions. We've seen that. But he's not a bad person, so I'm not going to sit here and indict him on anything other than he's made poor choices. He's done some stupid things," Angelo said Friday, a day after police found six guns in Johnson's home and he was charged with misdemeanor possession of firearms without proper identification.

"We're embarrassed by this," Angelo added. "It's unfortunate that it did happen and in particular it happened to Tank. He's had now a history of doing things and that history has got to stop."

Johnson will sit out Sunday's game against Tampa Bay, a decision made by coach Lovie Smith, who said it was not a disciplinary action because that would have to come from the NFL.

"Right now with what Tank Johnson is going through, he hasn't been convicted of anything. I'm going to let that play out, but I never kick guys out based on something that I think happened," Smith said, adding his decision was made to give the Bears the best chance to win Sunday.

Johnson practiced Friday and afterward offered a public apology to his teammates and family. He said it was especially difficult to see newspaper photos of two children being carried out of his house Thursday as it was raided by Gurnee police.

"I feel like I've learned from a lot of situations in my life and this one is no different. I just hate the fact that my family was portrayed like that on the paper," Johnson said.

He also said he didn't want to be a distraction as the Bears gear up for the playoffs. They will play Sunday without either of their starting defensive tackles. Tommie Harris is out for the season after surgery on a torn hamstring. And now Johnson is out for at least one game.

"I hate to be a deterrent from all the good that's going on here at Halas Hall," said Johnson, who turned himself in and was released Thursday after posting his $1,000 bond. He didn't discuss specifics of the case.

Johnson is scheduled for a court appearance Jan. 9, which would be several days before the NFC North champion Bears play their first postseason game.

How Johnson's latest brush will affect his probation from another case was not clear Friday.

In November 2005, Johnson was sentenced to 18 months probation and 40 hours community service after pleading guilty to a misdemeanor charge stemming from an arrest in which 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 pursue the case.

Cook County prosecutor's office spokesman John Gorman said Friday that the office would examine papers related to Johnson's most recent case. He said it would take at least several days to decide whether to file for Johnson's probation to be revoked.

Two of the weapons seized from Johnson's home Thursday were assault-style rifles, an AR-15 and a .223 caliber, said Gurnee Police Chief Robert Jones. Three were powerful handguns -- a .44 Magnum, a .50 caliber, and a .45 caliber -- and one was a .308 Winchester hunting rifle, Jones said.

"The biggest thing you get is that he doesn't have a card for guns that are legally his," Bears defensive end Adewale Ogunleye said Friday.

"It's not like he stole the guns, they are in his name. He bought them legally, and they got some misdemeanors out of it and it's a waste of time and a waste of taxpayers' money. The media's going to blow it out of proportion, and I just hope it all turns out well for him."

Police said during the search they also found two ounces of marijuana and arrested Willie B. Posey, 26, on a count of felony cannabis possession. Posey was released Friday after posting the $10,000 bond set by a Lake County Circuit Court judge. He is scheduled to return to court Dec. 21.

Posey said in court Friday he was Johnson's bodyguard, the Chicago Tribune and Arlington Heights Daily Herald reported on the newspapers' Web sites. Gurnee police could not confirm Posey's relationship to Johnson.

Angelo said the Bears can't levy a punishment against Johnson because it's a league matter.

"A fine isn't an option. We have no option. Again, personal conduct policy is regulated by the league," he said. "They will levy any fines, any suspensions."

NFL spokesman Greg Aiello reiterated Friday the incident was being reviewed.


Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press

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