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Tankless in '07?

By Benjy Lipsman in News on Apr 11, 2007 1:05PM

2006_12_sports_tank_johnson_mugshot.jpgIf they haven't already done so, Chicagoist would suggest that the Bears' coaching staff might want to do some more scouting of defensive tackles prior to the April 28-29 NFL Draft. And why is that? They might be a bit shorthanded at the position once the NFL deals with Tank Johnson.

On Tuesday, the NFL handed down two suspensions for players who have "brought embarrassment and ridicule upon [themselves, their clubs] and the NFL, and has damaged the reputation of players throughout the league." Commissioner Roger Goodell is taking a hard stance against players misbehaving.

Tennessee Titan Adam "Pacman" Jones was suspended for the entire 2007 season, while Cincinnati Bengals receiver Chris Henry got eight games. Each has had numerous run-ins with the law over the past year or so.

Jones has been involved in no less than ten incidents that have led to police questioning him, including a Las Vegas shooting that could result in felony charges. Henry has four arrests under his belt in a little over a year. With nine different Bengals arrested in less than a year, we're surprised Goodell didn't just sit the whole franchise for a year!

Given the precedent set with Jones' and Henry's suspensions, Tank Johnson can probably expect to miss the 2007 season as well. While his three arrests make him look almost saintly compared to those suspended this week, the fact he's currently serving a four-month sentence in Cook Country Jail can't help his case.

Tank's first arrest came in June 2005, when he was nabbed on gun charges in his SUV outside Excalibur. An incident outside Level in February 2006 led to another arrest, although charges were eventually dropped. In December 2006, his home was raided, and Tank was charged with possession of a number of illegal weapons. The next night he decided to go clubbing, and his bodyguard got killed. The arrest also resulted in probation violations from his first arrest, and that's what landed him in jail. He still faces trial on the latest gun charges.

Goodell stated at the NFL owners meeting that he wanted to meet personally with Johnson before handing down his punishment. Not one to hold meetings through bulletproof glass, Goodell won't meet with Tank until after his release from jail. That means, at the earliest, Johnson won't learn his fate until sometime in May. And that's if his sentence is reduced for good behavior.

While the Bears won't have a definitive answer on Tank's fate before the draft, we'd say it's a pretty safe assumption that he's out all year, and the Bears should draft accordingly.

AP Photo/Gurnee police via The News-Sun.