On May 3, 2008, Benson encountered his first brush with the law as a pro. He was arrested for operating a boat while intoxicated and resisting police arrest. Bears Head Coach Lovie Smith later said:
“We expect the guys to do what they’re supposed to do when they’re supposed to do it. It’s as simple as that. Stay out of trouble. The same things your employers ask you to do. That’s what we’re asking our guys to do around here. But it doesn’t work like that always. Guys get in trouble in all fields in society. Of course, ours is talked about a little bit more. But we’re disappointed whenever we’re talking about something that puts the Chicago Bears in a negative light.”
Benson didn’t get the memo. Five weeks later, Benson was arrested again, this time for operating a vehicle while intoxicated. Shortly afterwards, Jerry Angelo told the media “It’s unfortunate. Disappointment is too much an often used word when we’re talking about Cedric. The No. 1 lesson for every player is protect your job. We’re all held accountable for our actions…”
Two days after that media address, Angelo waived Benson. Angelo released a statement saying: “Cedric displayed a pattern of behavior we will not tolerate… As I said this past weekend, you have to protect your job. Everyone in this organization is held accountable for their actions.”
Benson, however, was given a second chance with the Cincinnati Bengals in 2008; signing a one year deal shortly after the season began. Benson came to life with the Bengals and after a solid 2008 campaign; he broke loose in 2009 rushing for 1,251 yards and six touchdowns. Benson’s best game came against…….the Chicago Bears. In Week 7, Benson ran for a career high 189 yards with one touchdown as his Bengals destroyed the Bears 45-10.
Where was this version of Cedric Benson when he played for the Bears' Yet the old Cedric Benson would pop up again soon enough. In June 2010, Benson was arrested for assault after allegedly punching a bartender. Benson refuted the charges and wasn’t suspended by the NFL. Benson had another nice season in 2010, rushing for 1,111 yards and seven touchdowns.
Benson’s attorney made an announcement on Sunday saying, “Mr. Benson has been charged with misdemeanor assault arising out of a conflict with a former male roommate. The two had difficulties resulting from Mr. Benson asking the former male roommate to leave his home a few days prior to this incident. The conflict became physical early this morning and we intend to fully investigate.”
It has to make one wonder why a person who’s been given a second chance continues to make trouble for himself. Benson isn’t the first person to blow an incredible opportunity and he certainly won’t be the last. One thing is for sure, he’s no longer the problem of the Chicago Bears and regardless of his recent success in Cincinnati, the Bears’ organization should have no regrets about letting this man go. He continues to be a ticking time bomb and he’s his own worst enemy.
It will be interesting to see how Benson’s latest troubles will affect his career. He’s currently a free agent and when the NFL lockout ends, it’s unknown whether or not the Bengals will re-sign him. Any team that does sign him will be rolling the dice and taking a risk.
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