Joseph becomes ninth Bengal arrested in nine months

Updated: January 24, 2007, 10:20 AM ET
Associated Press

CINCINNATI -- Bengals cornerback Johnathan Joseph was arrested early Monday and charged with possession of marijuana, the ninth Cincinnati player arrested in the last nine months.

Earning Their Stripes? …
Johnathan Joseph
Johnathan Joseph is the ninth Bengal to be arrested in the last nine months. Here's a list of those Cincinnati players and their off-field troubles:
Player Pos. Charges
Johnathan Joseph CB Possession of marijuana
Deltha O'Neal CB Driving while intoxicated
Reggie McNeal WR Resisting arrest
Matthias Askew DT Resisting arrest
Eric Steinbach G Boating under the influence
Chris Henry WR x-Total of five
Frostee Rucker DE Spousal battery
A.J. Nicholson LB Burglary, grand theft
Odell Thurman LB Driving while intoxicated
x-unlawful transaction with a minor (three counts), speeding, operating a vehicle under the influence, felony possession of a concealed firearm, possession of marijuana. First arrest was in December 2005.

The arrest came three weeks after coach Marvin Lewis announced he would get tougher on player conduct, hoping to stop a series of arrests that has embarrassed the team and drawn the attention of NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.

"We don't comment on these matters when they're unresolved," team spokesman Jack Brennan said. "We don't believe it's appropriate when it's still at the level of charges."

Joseph was arrested on U.S. Route 42 in northern Kentucky. He lives nearby in Union, Ky. The Boone County sheriff's arrest report said Joseph was the passenger in a vehicle driven by a woman who had a suspended license, was driving slowly and weaving.

When a sheriff's deputy asked Joseph to get out of the vehicle so it could be searched, Joseph reached for a black backpack with a Super Bowl logo, the arrest report said. The deputy wrote in the report there was a "strong odor" of marijuana.

When the deputy began searching the backpack, Joseph "stated that there was a bag of marijuana" in the backpack, according to the arrest report. The deputy said he found a bag of marijuana in a pouch next to a video game.

Joseph was arrested at 2:15 a.m., taken to the county jail and released. His first court appearance is scheduled for Feb. 5. Marijuana possession is a misdemeanor that carries a maximum of one year in jail and a maximum $500 fine.

The Bengals have had the most arrests in the NFL over the past 13 months. Nine players have been arrested, and linebacker Odell Thurman and receiver Chris Henry have been suspended by the NFL for misconduct.

Henry has been arrested four times, the first time for possession of marijuana. Two of his court cases have been settled, and two are pending. Those two cases could bring additional punishment from the league, which suspended him for two games.

Thurman was suspended for the entire season for repeated violations of the league's substance-abuse policies. He skipped a drug test, drawing a four-game suspension. It was extended to a full season after a Sept. 25 arrest on a drunken-driving charge.

Joseph was the 24th overall pick in last season's draft. He played in every game and started eight of them, including the final seven in place of Deltha O'Neal. O'Neal was hurt and benched for one game after his Dec. 9 arrest on a drunken-driving charge.

Two days after O'Neal's arrest, Goodell called Bengals president Mike Brown to express his concern and offer help in ending the team's off-field problems. During a visit in September, Goodell reminded the players of their responsibility to stay out of trouble.

Lewis initially defended his players. But after Goodell's visit, he started taking a harder line publicly.

The Bengals lost their last three games to finish 8-8 and missed out on the playoffs. After the season, Lewis said some of the team's veterans had asked him to get tougher with the players.

"The biggest thing I would say to you is there's some things probably that in the first year or so [as head coach] I wouldn't tolerate, and I've become a little bit more tolerable of," Lewis said. "And I think there's an outcry from our guys to go back that way. I hear it and see it, so that's my challenge is to go back to that.

"We've tried to allow guys to both mature as men and mature as players. But the thing we continue to find is they've got to be constantly coached, policed and corrected so that at times of adversity, we can do the right things."

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press