Roman Modrowski from the Sun Times writes about Cedric Benson and his claim that the Bears treated him unfairly:
"Sometimes it seemed I was going against some of the same guys I was going to war with during the weekend," Benson said. "We were supposed to be a team trying to achieve a common goal every Sunday, and sometimes during the week -- maybe even on Sunday -- it seemed I was battling against my own team, from all aspects: some player, some staff ... It just didn't seem to work, whether from what I just mentioned or not getting the ball enough."
If this is true, it should have been addressed by the coaching staff. Even if Benson deserved the tension he received from his teammates, such animosity can damage a locker room, and it shouldn't have been allowed to fester.
One thing that is tough to dispute is Benson was released prematurely. He was cleared of all charges relating to that drunken boating incident in Texas, but he was released before his case went through the legal process.
"Of course I was unfairly treated or there would have been something come about," he said. "I would have had to do community service or something. Justice was served. The court system held up, and it just sucks that there was not enough support in Chicago -- or belief in me in Chicago - to hang around or withstand seeing the truth come out."
I understand where Cedric is coming from. However, let's look at Cedric's history:
1) Came into camp late after a holdout, which started him off on the wrong foot
2) Feuded with Thomas Jones, who was one of the locker room leaders by most accounts
3) Complained about playing time too often
4) Arrested for BWI on May 5th, 2008
5) Arrested for DUI on June 7th, 2008
I realize that everyone is allowed due process, but I wholeheartedly agree with Jerry's decision to release Cedric. If you screwed up and it was a one-time thing, fine. But to go out and get arrested on suspected DUI a month later is idiotic. The Austin PD is well-known for their willingness to arrest University of Texas athletes for any offense. They don't sweep anything under the rug because you're an athlete with nationwide celebrity, which is how it should be. If you drink, call a damn cab or some of your former teammates still in Austin. Sorry Cedric, you deserved to be fired after that.
This reminds me of a scorned high school lover; one side says they've moved on, but they continually air past greviances. I wish Cedric the best with his new team.
Regardless, the Bears - Bengals game this season will be one to watch. Lucky for me, I'll be in Chicago that weekend for a conference. No better time to go to my first Bears game. :)