Benson in trouble again

Cedric Benson was in the news once again over the weekend.

It wasn’t for an outstanding effort in offseason workouts or a report on his rehabilitation from surgery to repair a fractured leg near his ankle.

It was for another incident with the police.

Cedric Benson, RB
Chicago Bears

Career statistics
Games: 35
Att: 420
Yards: 1,593
TDs: 10

Benson, who was arrested earlier in the offseason for boating while intoxicated, had another run-in with police for driving while intoxicated in Austin, Texas. An Austin police spokeswoman said Benson was pulled over on June 7 for running a red light and refused to take a breath test or provide blood samples.

Fantasy football owners should now refuse to consider Benson in drafts.

While Benson’s attorney, Sam Bassett, stated that his client “doesn’t feel like he was intoxicated,” this is almost certainly the beginning of the end for Benson as a member of the Chicago Bears.

“Disappointment is too much an often used word when we’re talking about Cedric,” Bears GM Jerry Angelo said. “The No. 1 lesson for every player is protect your job. We’re all held accountable for our actions. I’m not going to say any more than that until we know for sure what the facts are.”

Benson is expected to meet with team official this week to discuss this latest incident, not to mention his future with the team. Since being selected in the first round of the 2005 NFL Draft, Benson has been a serious bust both on the field and in fantasy land. He has rushed for 1,593 yards and 10 touchdowns, averaging 3.8 yards a carry.

He’s also missed 13 games due to injuries.

The selection of Tulane’s Matt Forte this past April was the first indication that the team has lost confidence in Benson as a featured back. The coaching staff has become enamored with Forte, who has even greater sleeper value after Benson’s latest off-field issues.

“I love Matt Forte,” offensive coordinator Ron Turner told the Chicago Tribune. “He’s got the size, he’s got the hands. He’s smooth as an athlete, very smooth. How many touches do I see him getting? A lot.”

With praise like that, it’s hard to see Forte in anything less than a prominent role as a rookie. The Bears have had numerous busts at the running back position since the retirement of the great Walter Payton (Curtis Enis, Rashaan Salaam, Anthony Thomas, Benson), but Forte will look to break that trend. If the team does release Benson, Forte would become the instant favorite to start ahead of Adrian Peterson and Garrett Wolfe.

If you ask me, Forte was the favorite to start the second the Bears took him in the draft.

This situation (more to the point, Benson’s status in Chicago) is one for fantasy footballers to watch in the weeks and months to come. But even if Benson remains on the team, his failures both on and off the field make him one player to avoid in a prominent spot in all drafts.

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