Bengals' Benson starts serving jail sentence before season

Cincinnati Bengals running back Cedric Benson changed his plans and surrendered to the Travis County Jail in Austin, Texas, late Tuesday to begin serving his 20-day sentence on a 2010 assault charge.

Benson pleaded no contest to assault Monday and originally was set to report to jail Oct. 17, the day after the Bengals' Week 6 game against the Indianapolis Colts and the start of the team's bye week.

But The Cincinnati Enquirer reported that, according to jail records, Benson was booked into the Texas facility at 11 p.m. local time and will be credited for serving Tuesday because he showed up before midnight, per county policy.

Attorneys for both sides said that with credit for good behavior, Benson would serve seven days in jail. That means he would be released either late Monday or the morning of Sept. 6 and could be back by next Wednesday to join the Bengals' preparations for their Sept. 11 opener at Cleveland.

The player's attorney, Sam Bassett, released the following statement, via The Enquirer: "Cedric Benson surrendered himself to the Travis County Jail this evening to serve his jail sentence for the 2010 Assault charge to which he entered a plea of no contest. Cedric is happy the July 2011 case has been dismissed.

"Though originally scheduled to serve the jail sentence in October, Cedric decided he needs to complete the jail sentence before the season. This is best for everyone involved.

"Mr. Benson is thankful for his supporters in Austin and Cincinnati. He is also grateful to the Bengals organization. Cedric looks forward to working hard on and off the field as soon as he is released."

Benson, 28, was arrested last year for allegedly punching a bar employee. He pleaded no contest to assault with injury.

Last month, Benson was accused of punching an ex-roommate. Benson pleaded no contest to assault with bodily injury with family violence. That case will be dismissed if Benson does 30 hours of community service and pays restitution.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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