AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Running back Cedric Benson was released from jail on Sunday following an arrest on an assault charge, the second year in a row he has gotten into trouble in his home state.
Benson was a free agent after leading the Cincinnati Bengals in rushing each of the last three seasons. He hoped to stay with the Bengals and worked out with players in Cincinnati during the NFL’s lockout.
Travis County sheriff’s spokesman Roger Wade said Benson was arrested in downtown Austin on a misdemeanor count of assault with bodily injury with family violence. Benson attorney Sam Bassett said in a statement the arrest followed “a conflict” between Benson and a male former roommate.
Wade said Benson posted a $10,000 bond and was released just before 2 p.m.
Bassett considers the “family violence” aspect of the charge erroneous “since the alleged male victim no longer is Mr. Benson’s household member and was not a household member for the past few days.” Conviction of assault with family violence would draw a stiffer penalty than simple assault.
The running back will be an unrestricted free agent when the lockout ends. Teams aren’t allowed to have contact with players until then.
“In cases like this, we don’t feel it’s appropriate to comment before there’s some kind of legal resolution,” Bengals spokesman Jack Brennan said.
Last summer, Benson was arrested over an alleged bar fight in Austin. Police charged him with misdemeanor assault for allegedly punching a bar employee in the face. Benson has denied the charge, and the case is pending.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell met with Benson about the arrest last year and decided not to punish him. Benson could face a suspension for his latest arrest once the players and the league reach a collective bargaining agreement, clouding his future in the NFL.
Benson was Chicago’s first-round pick out of the University of Texas in 2005. He had two alcohol-related arrests with the Bears, who let him go in 2008. He signed as a free agent with the Bengals and led them in rushing yardage each of the last three years — 747 yards in 2008, 1,251 yards in 2009 and 1,111 yards in 2010.
The 28-year-old running back was disappointed last season when the Bengals went away from their run-based offense that won them the AFC North title in 2009, then finished 4-12. After the Bengals changed offensive coordinators, Benson lobbied to stay in Cincinnati.
He was the second Bengals player arrested in the last week. Cornerback Adam “Pacman” Jones was arrested last weekend in Cincinnati on misdemeanor charges of disorderly conduct while intoxicated and resisting arrest. Court documents said Jones shouted profanities in a downtown bar and tried to pull away as officers arrested him. Jones has denied the allegations.
Jones’ arrest also could draw a suspension from the NFL and might jeopardize his year of probation from a Nevada judge for his role in a 2007 Las Vegas strip club shooting that left three people injured.
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