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Can Tank Play?

By Benjy Lipsman in News on Jan 23, 2007 2:06PM

2007_01_sport_tank_court.jpgIt's not very often that a judge becomes a household name in Chicago, unless they're involved with sending some politician to jail or being charged with corruption themselves. But one Cook County judge may have his name uttered around countless water coolers this week, depending on his ruling today.

Tank Johnson will appear in Judge John J. Moran's courtroom to find out whether he has permission to travel with the rest of the Chicago Bears for Super Bowl XLI.

The judge set out strict conditions for Tank after he was charged with probation violations stemming from his December arrest on weapons charges. At the time, the judge placed Johnson under strict house arrest, allowing him to travel only to and from work -- without so much as a spin through the drive-thru on the way allowed. Any travel out of state would require the judge's permission.

The Bears have only played home games since his legal problems, so the ability to travel out of state hadn't been an issue. However, with the Super Bowl being played in Miami, Tank now needs permission before the Bears know whether he'll be in their line-up.

Tank already has the OK from a Lake County judge, who has jurisdiction over the actual guns charges. Judge Moran is now the only person who can keep Tank at home. Moran has a reputation for being a strict judge ... so will he actually make Tank stay at home, like he did for Christmas?

Cook County criminal defense attorney, Barry A. Spector speculated, "If the judge is convinced [Johnson] will come back for the parade after they win, then he will let him go." But wouldn't his house arrest prevent him from attending the parade?

UPDATE: Judge Moran ruled this morning that Tank can play.

Photo via AP Photo/Brian Kersey.