Thoughts later, here’s the story from ESPN.com:
After his boating DUI charge, [tag]Cedric Benson[/tag] remained a starting running back in the eyes of coach Lovie Smith and the Chicago Bears.
His weekend DUI charge while in a car in Austin, Texas, has led to his release, however. The Bears placed Benson on waivers Monday, two years before the end of his contract and three years into a disappointing career with the team.
“Cedric displayed a pattern of behavior we will not tolerate,” Bears general manager Jerry Angelo said in a statement. “As I said this past weekend, you have to protect your job. Everyone in this organization is held accountable for their actions. When individual priorities overshadow team goals, we suffer the consequences as a team. Those who fail to understand the importance of ‘team’ will not play for the Chicago Bears.”
Benson wasn’t present at the Bears organized practice Monday. The Chicago Sun-Times reported on its Web site that Benson showed up and was sent home by Smith.
Reporters waited for a statement from Angelo as he walked off the field on Monday, but he said the team might have a statement later in the day.
The statement turned out to be an action. Benson’s name appeared on the NFL’s waiver wire Monday afternoon, ending the three-year relationship.
Though the 5-foot-10, 220-pound runner claimed his innocence on both DUI charges, the team apparently lost faith in him. Because he’s only been in the league for three seasons, Benson does not have his contract automatically terminated. He can be claimed by any other interested team on waivers.
Before his release, Benson made one last ditch effort to repair the situation, issuing an apology on Monday afternoon.
“I apologize for making the poor decision to drink and drive during the early morning of Saturday, June 7th,” he said in a statement. “Given the incident last month, it was a particularly bad decision. I have no excuse for this lack of judgment.
“Though I strongly believe that I am not guilty of any crime, I realize that the public and the Bears organization hold me to higher standard. Though my local attorneys will continue to work hard to prove my innocence, I confess to using poor judgment. Please accept my deepest apology.”