Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Is This Really the Return of Tank Johnson? [Michael Vinciguerra]

This from NFL.com:

Tank Johnson of the Chicago Bears was suspended by the NFL for the first eight games of the 2007 regular season for violating the league's new personal conduct policy.

The defensive tackle recently served a two-month jail stint on a probation violation on gun-related charges.

He's the third player suspended by Commissioner Roger Goodell in little more than a month for off-field behavior. In April, Goodell suspended Tennessee Titans defensive back Adam "Pacman" Jones for the entire 2007 season and Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Chris Henry for eight games. Jones is appealing his suspension."
Tank Johnson has completed his sentence for his off the field antics and is now going to be suspended by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell for either six or eight games, depending on whether he follows and performs all the requirements asked of him. At first one may question just why the Bears should keep providing second and third chances for a player who belongs in jail and will inevitably screw up again? He is making the Bears look like a disgrace. However, Tank Johnson, as big a screw-up as he is, is a requirement for the Bears' success. With Johnson out of the roster, the Bears' defense will open the 2007 season without their top three tackles from Super Bowl XLI four months ago. Ian Scott, the starter next to Tank, signed with the Eagles in April and Alfonso Boone, the No. 3 tackle, signed with the Kansas City Chiefs. Both starters signed as unrestricted free agents. Now, the bears have decided to fill up the gaps with young, potential players and will rely heavily on the return of the emerging star Tommy Harris to carry the weight of the defense. Clearly, however, the Bears defense of 2007 will not be as dominant as it was during the previous years.

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