Ed Johnson, former Nittany Lion and now starting defensive tackle for the NFL Indianapolis Colts, was arrested early Wednesday on a drug possession charge.
Ed’s Penn State screwups are still fresh in most of our minds. You’ll remember Ed from the sexual assualt episode back in 2005. He was reinstated in 2006, but didn’t play in the Outback bowl due to a violation of team rules.
This Turkey thought that Johnson would straighten out his act when he got the stint with the Colts and happened into the starting job when Booger McFarland went down. He was an undrafted free agent, who was lucky to find any interest in him by the NFL and even more fortuitous to get a starting job by happenstance. He has a very supportive coach in Tony Dungy, who is often referred to as a “players’ coach.” Dungy had a talk with Johnson when he was brought on board and thought they had reached an understanding about behavior issues. However, clearly, you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.
Ed had a fine year last year, starting all 16 games and recording 63 tackles, one sack, and one forced fumble. He won’t be playing this week for sure, according to Head Coach Tony Dungy, and his future is uncertain.
Johnson was stopped for speeding on I-465 north of Indianapolis. The cops subsequently charged him with both possession of illegal drugs and possession of marijuana. (This Turkey doesn’t know why there were two separate charges, but I guess there is a legal distinction in Indiana.)
“As in any other incident of this nature, it will be reviewed under the league’s substance abuse policy,” league spokesman Greg Aiello wrote in an e-mail to The Associated Press. “A player’s prior history can be considered in evaluating potential discipline under the program.”
This underscores what I’ve been saying about guys like Maurice Evans and Abe Koroma. First of all, not keeping their noses clean gets them the “character flag” on their NFL scouting report, which alerts teams to character issues and, in the worst case, keeps them undrafted. Then, later on, if they should happen to actually land an NFL job and get into even a minor jam, the league will look back at their college record and brand them as repeat offenders. This does not portend well for the health of their wallets.
Ed’s checkered past, along with the plethora of recent off-field incidents, could impact Penn State players trying to enter the NFL. I hope Penn State is not developing a reputation for producing tainted players, but the more incidents that come to light, the more NFL teams will shy away from Nittany Lions.
Time will tell whether Ed Johnson’s NFL career will survive this incident. If it does, he better reform his ass, or he’ll be gone for good.