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Joseph becomes ninth Bengal arrested in nine months

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.

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."