The Chicago Bears released troubled running back Cedric Benson on Monday afternoon after his second arrest in a month.
Over the weekend, Benson was arrested on a DUI charge in Austin, Texas, just weeks after a boating DUI charge in Texas.
"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 showed up to the Bears organized practice on Monday and was sent home by coach Lovie Smith.
Benson maintained his innocence on both charges and offered an apology after practice.
"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.
Since being taken fourth overall in the 2005 NFL Draft, Benson has been a disappointment to the Bears and fans alike.
In 2005, Benson rushed for 272 yards on 67 carries before being lost for the majority of the season with a MCL sprain. Behind Thomas Jones is 2006, Benson rushed for 647 yards and compiled only 674 yards on 196 carries in his first year as a feature back. He was lost for the season after breaking his leg against Oakland.
The Bears drafted running back Matthew Forte in the second round from Tulane to give Benson competition for the 2008 season. Forte, along with veteran Adrian Peterson and second year back Garrett Wolfe, will likely compete for the starting spot. It is unknown if the Bears will pursue another back, but with Travis Henry newly hitting the market from Denver, the Bears will have a decision to make.
ESPN.com reports that he team will save $820,000 on the cap by releasing him, but there will be a $2.575 million pro-ration that will count against the 2008 cap. There will be a $2.575 million cap charge for the Bears in 2009.
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