Five weeks ago the Chicago Bears were dealing with running back Cedric Benson’s alcohol related arrest. For the second time in that five week span, the Bears have to deal with another alcohol related arrest from their starting running back. Benson was pulled over in Austin, Texas on Saturday when an officer observed him driving irratically across three lanes of traffic and coming to a sudden stop that caused a pedestrian to move out of the way. Police in Austin, Texas have claimed that Benson was visibilly drunk, having trouble standing, and combative.
Benson has already stated that he passed the field sobriety tests and informed press that when the camera footage taken by the police squad car is released, we can all see that he was not drunk. It just seems like a hard pill to swallow after Benson was involved in similar squabbling of police misinformation from his boating arrest. You want to believe Benson but the whole thing sounds like too much coincidence. Meanwhile, Benson’s credibility is quickly deteriorating in the public eye.
Benson claims he had a single alcoholic drink and later his attorney stated he may have had a couple, but police reports indicate the running back looked too drunk to stand. Regardless of whether Benson really was over the legal limit, what was he thinking? A man that was just starting to escape the persecution of his first arrest promptly returns to Texas and gets arrested again for alcohol? It was within reason to ask fans to sympathize with having a few drinks on a boat with family, but now Benson has to ask for understanding that he was driving drunk, alone, and dangerously.
I wrote a while ago that I was willing to forgive Benson for his boating actions but he needed to make better choices about the situations he enters. This gives every indication that Benson is making poor choices in his personal life that are going to interfere with his professional life. He not only put his own life in danger, a stupid move for a person that is paid solely on his physical ability, but put other people in danger. It’s dumb, irresponsible, and has made the decision for the Bears much easier or tougher depending on how you look at it.
The Bears are currently hosting an Expo for fans to interact with the team and General Manager Jerry Angelo has been heard expressing his extreme displeasure with Benson. If Benson’s future with the team was in jeopardy before, his head is in the guillotine now. The problem is a few months ago I suggested the Bears go out and get free agent running back Dominic Rhodes. Rhodes has agreed to return to the Indianapolis Colts and leaves the Bears with few options. I would rather see the Bears go with a tandem of Matt Forte and Adrian Peterson rather than sign an aging back like Shaun Alexander.
The Bears organization have given every indication that they are prepared to move on with Benson. The word out of OTA’s is Bears coaches are in love with Matt Forte. Offensive staff have called him an every-down back, lots of talant, ability to make plays on the field, virtually the anti-Benson. It appears the Bears are inching closer to accepting the idea of putting rookie running back Matt Forte in the backfield as starting running back. They may choose to split his playing time with Benson if he stays around or Peterson. Either way, I think you can count on Forte seeing a larger bulk of playing time than originally anticipated. He may not be a bad sleeper pick to queue on your fantasy draft.
As for Benson, maybe he can open up a bar in Amsterdam with Ricky Williams and talk about the good old college days in Texas.