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Bengals' rookie Brandon Joiner sentenced to prison

Cincinnati Bengals undrafted rookie linebacker Brandon Joiner's NFL career will be on hold after the 23-year-old was sentenced to three years in prison over a 2007 robbery that occurred when Joiner was a freshman at Texas A&M, the Bryan College Station Eagles reports.

Joiner was indicted on two counts of aggravated robbery and one charge of felony drug possession. Joiner and another former player were arrested and charged with robbery after breaking into a College Station apartment and robbing a drug dealer at gunpoint.

Joiner had been on probation for the first robbery count and was sentenced to three years in prison on the drug charge, with the sentences to run concurrently. With good behavior, Joiner's attorney believes his client could be released in six to nine months.

"Brandon must serve a sentence for a crime he was convicted of in 2007 -- when he was 18," the Bengals said on the team's official website. "But his positive actions during the past five years, including significant community service work, graduation from Arkansas State University and an unblemished subsequent behavior record, have generated a group of active supporters that includes Mike Beebe, the Governor of Arkansas, and Hugh Freeze, Brandon's head coach at Arkansas State and now head coach at Mississippi. In kind, the Bengals support Brandon's future opportunity for a career in the NFL."

Joiner landed at Navarro Junior Community College after he was kicked off the Texas A&M football team. He later transferred to Arkansas State. In 24 games for the Red Wolves, Joiner totaled 82 tackles, including 24.5 tackles for a loss and 17 sacks. In 2011, the 6-foot-2, 249-pound defensive end earned Sun Belt Defensive Player of the Year honors after leading the conference with 13 sacks, a total that ranked fourth nationally. Joiner was not invited to the NFL Scouting Combine and was unable to conduct a full workout at his pro day on March 27 due to a hamstring injury.

"Since this incident, Brandon has conducted himself in an exemplary fashion and I'm sure he will continue to do that," attorney Jay Granberry said. "There are a lot of people rooting for Brandon and I'm convinced he's not going to let anyone down."

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