On the same day the Cincinnati Bengals traded quarterback Carson Palmer to the Oakland Raiders, their running back, Cedric Benson, had his three-game suspension for violating the NFL's personal-conduct policy reduced to a one-game ban with a fine of an additional game check, the league announced Tuesday.
Benson, whose suspension begins immediately, can return to the Bengals' active roster Oct. 31, one day after his team's game against the Seattle Seahawks. The Bengals have a bye this week. Benson's additional fine is 1/17th of his $3 million salary, which equates to $176,470.
Benson declined to discuss the decision after practice Tuesday.
"It is what it is," he told The Associated Press before walking away.
Benson was arrested on misdemeanor assault charges in connection with a Texas bar fight in 2010. He met with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, who decided not to disciplined him but warned him to stay out of trouble. Benson was arrested for misdemeanor assault again in July following an altercation with a roommate.
Benson appealed the three-game suspension on the grounds that he wasn't under contract with any NFL team when his latest arrest occurred. Benson's lawyer also argued that NFL players were locked out when Benson was arrested in Texas in July, so he wasn't subject to discipline from the league.
Tuesday's ruling, a copy of which was obtained from a league source, details Benson's case and includes the following from hearing officer Harold R. Henderson in his written conclusion:
"While multiple criminal charges have been filed in recent years, we here are addressing only two," Henderson wrote. "Mr. Benson has not been disciplined for misconduct before. Therefore, in view of all the factors discussed above, I find (the) three-game suspension to be more than is warranted, and hereby modify the discipline accordingly to a one-game suspension and, in addition, a fine in the amount of one-seventeenth of his ... salary. Benson should know that any further violation of the Policy may result in significantly more severe discipline, including (a) multi-game suspension."
Benson leads the Bengals with 458 rushing yards, and his 117 carries rank fourth in the league, but Bernard Scott likely will be the Bengals' top running back against the Seahawks. Before Benson's appeal hearing Sept. 27, the Bengals gave tryouts to running backs Larry Johnson and Clinton Portis but didn't sign either of them.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.