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Tank Johnson Arrested... Again!

By Benjy Lipsman in News on Dec 15, 2006 1:44PM

Chicagoist is starting to understand how Tank Johnson got his nickname. Could it be his fascination with weapons? While some people would learn from past experiences involving guns that could jeopardize one's freedom and multi-million dollar contract, others just don't seem to put two and two together. Tank Johnson apparently falls into the later category.

2006_12_sports_tank_johnson_mugshot.jpgThe Chicago Bears' defensive tackle was charged yet again yesterday, this time with "six misdemeanor counts of unlawful possession of a weapon without a Firearm Owner's Identification card" following a raid on his Gurnee home. The six counts resulted from the cache of six guns discovered -- including a three handguns, a rifle and two assult weapons.

Tank was at Halas Hall at the time of the raid, but his girlfriend, their two children and a friend were presents as the Gurnee police SWAT team cleared part of the neighborhood and descended upon the house with shields and armored vehicles. The raid was supposedly the result of an investigation that began in early November, culminating in the search warrant executed yesterday.

The friend, Willie B. Posey, 26, was charged with felony possession of marijuana after more than 2 ounces of pot was recovered, in addition to the guns.

The latest run-in with the police is already Tank Johnson's third since he joined the Bears in 2004. In June 2005, Johnson was arrested at Excalibur after a valet saw him stick a gun in the center console of his SUV. He followed that up with an arrest outside Level for aggravated assault and resisting arrest after police attempted to ticket the limo waiting for him.

For the first time, however, Tank's brushes with the law have happened mid-season. And at a particularly critical time of the season for the Bears, as the begin to ramp up for a playoff run and hopefully a trip to Miami.

With the recent loss of Tommie Harris, the defensive line is already weakened. This distraction can't help. Johnson's expected in court on Jan. 9, the day before the Bears first playoff game. While the charges themselves would result in fines, his previous record and subsequent probation could complicate things.

Will this latest legal issue impact Tank's playing status this season, or will it simply be a "distraction" to the team? The league's collective bargaining agreement prevents the Bears from suspending him and the league typically only responds with a suspension or fine after a conviction. For example, Ricky Manning Jr. just missed the Bears-Patriots game as a result of an plea bargain following his off-season arrest.

League rules notwithstanding, the Trib's Rick Morrissey is calling for the Bears to place Tank on the "inactive list" indefinitely and to tell him to get his life in order. We certainly agree with Morrissey that Tank needs some help. There is no excuse for endangering one's kids, nor is there any excuse for jeopardizing what his teammates have worked so hard to accomplish.

But the reality is that the Bears really can't do much because of the league policy. However, Chicagoist does wonder whether the Bears could send him to Cincinnati for a few days to get some counseling from the commish?

AP Photo/Gurnee police via The News-Sun