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Benson Provides Riveting Radio

Posted by Dan Hoard on October 13, 2011 – 3:52 pm

Another week, another stay of execution – or at least suspension – for Cedric Benson.

Prior to the San Francisco game in Week 3, Benson received a 3-game suspension for being charged with assault during the lockout.  Cedric promptly filed an appeal, challenging the NFL’s right to punish him for actions that took place when there was no bargaining agreement, no union, and he was not under contract.  That appeal was heard at NFL headquarters on Tuesday, September 27th.

Additionally, Benson filed an unfair labor practice charge against the NFL Players Association for making a deal with the league that allowed eight “repeat offenders” to be disciplined for their behavior during the lockout.  Cedric met with the National Labor Relations Board in Cincinnati this Tuesday, and a NLRB official told Joe Reedy of the Cincinnati Enquirer that a ruling could take three to four weeks.  As a result, it’s possible that the NFL will have to delay its ruling on the suspension until the NLRB case is resolved.

So for the fourth straight week since the suspension was announced – and counting – Benson will take the field on Sunday.

“I try my best to eliminate all distractions the best that I can,” said Benson.  “I only want to be focused on football and my preparation going into the next game.  The heaviest thing for me was going to New York and meeting with the NFL about the situation.  After that passed, I was fine and it was behind me.  Whatever decision was to be made based on that meeting, I was going to have to be OK with.”

Cedric joined Artrell Hawkins and me last Friday for our “Bengals Pep Rally” show at the Firehouse Grill in Blue Ash and spoke very candidly about his off-field behavior.  Benson has been charged with assault in each of the last two summers, and spent five days in jail prior to the season.

“It takes a lot of play this game at a high and intense level every Sunday for 16 weeks,” said Benson.  “I try to keep that part of me just on the football field and I try to do my best to be in control.  For people that haven’t played football at a high level, you have to have an edge about you to survive in this game at this level.  I’m aware that I have that edge, but I try to keep it on the field.  I try my best to, but nobody is perfect. 

“The time that I was in (jail), all I could really think about was how slow the clock was ticking.  I was really eager to get out of there.  But from the time the situation happened to the time I sat in jail, I had some time to think about a lot of things.  It gave me an opportunity to step back and think about who is around me, who I want to be around me, the type of people that I could and couldn’t associate with, and there was still some growing that I needed to do as a person.  I’ve taken steps toward accomplishing that.”

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We were also joined on last week’s show by Clark Judge, an NFL columnist for CBS Sports.com who had an interesting answer when I asked him if Carson Palmer’s trade value would drop if he sits out the entire season:

“I talked to an NFL coach who said, ‘If Carson Palmer actually sits out, his trade value goes up in my estimation.’  I said ‘It goes up?  Why?’  He said, ‘Because that is a guy of conviction.  That just shows you how determined he was to get out of there.  I really would want a guy like that.’  That’s illogical thinking to me, but that’s what he said to me.  If the Bengals determine that they’re going to trade him – and I’m not convinced of that – I think they could get a lot for him.  There could be and should be a market for Carson Palmer and people would stand in line to try to get this guy.”

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I hope you’ll Artrell Hawkins and me for “Bengals Pep Rally” on Friday afternoon from 3 to 6 live from the Firehouse Grill in Blue Ash.  The show can be heard on ESPN 1530-AM.

I’d love to hear from you at Dan.Hoard@bengals.nfl.net

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