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Tank Johnson tells NFL rookies: You do not need a gun

NFC Champion Chicago Bears Media Day

of the Chicago Bears during Media Day at Dolphin Stadium on January 30, 2007 in Miami Gardens, Florida.

Scott Halleran

During Tank Johnson’s tumultuous tenure with the Bears, incidents with guns got him arrested, jailed and suspended, and his close friend was shot and killed in front of him after an altercation at a Chicago bar. All that has Johnson offering new NFL players a simple piece of advice: You don’t need a gun.

Johnson spoke today at the rookie symposium and said that there’s enough security in place, provided by teams and the league, that players don’t have to carry guns to protect themselves.

“While you’re playing in the NFL, you do not need a firearm for any reason,” Johnson said, via Tim Graham of the Buffalo News. “The NFL does a great job of putting these resources around you where you don’t need a firearm. Having a gun is not going to help you when that moment comes if you’re not trained on how to use that gun.”

Johnson owned several guns before the Bears drafted him, and he now says he wishes he hadn’t brought them to Chicago with him.

“I’m just here to talk to you guys about firearms, guns, gats, straps, all that stuff that we keep seeing pop up in the media all the time with our young athletes,” Johnson told the rookies. “The main thing that caused me those troubles, coming from Phoenix and moving to Chicago, was bringing a car full of my guns, thinking it was going to be sweet like it was in Phoenix, where you can buy an AK-47 at Circle K.”

Some NFL players think that being high-profile people with a lot of money means they need guns for protection. Johnson is there to tell the rookies that guns are a lot more likely to get them into trouble than to keep them out of trouble.