Bengals RB Benson charged with assault on former roommate

Running back Cedric Benson was released from jail Sunday in Austin, Texas, following an arrest on an assault charge, marking the second year in a row he has been in trouble in his home state.

Benson will be an unrestricted free agent after leading the Cincinnati Bengals in rushing each of the last three seasons. He has said he hopes to stay with the Bengals, even working out with players in Cincinnati during the lingering NFL lockout.

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Cedric Benson was hoping to cash in as a pending free agent, but his latest issue with the law could cost him the security he wanted, Steve Wyche writes.

Travis County sheriff's spokesman Roger Wade said Sunday that Benson was arrested in downtown Austin on a misdemeanor count of assault with bodily injury with family violence. Benson attorney Sam Bassett said in a statement the arrest followed "a conflict" between his client and a male former roommate.

Wade said Benson posted a $10,000 bond and was released just before 2 p.m. CT.

Police said Benson confronted the former roommate at an Austin street corner at 5 a.m. Sunday, repeatedly striking him in the face with a closed fist, KXAN-TV reported Monday.

The former roommate told police in an arrest affadavit that "all of a sudden he was struck on his face with a closed fist throw by Benson," after Benson told him they "needed to talk about their problems."

The roommate was bleeding from the mouth, according to police, and complained about "possible loss of teeth and massive swelling of the left cheek."

Bassett released a statement Sunday saying the "the two had difficulties resulting from Mr. Benson asking the former male roommate to leave his home a few days prior to this incident."

Bassett considers the "family violence" aspect of the charge erroneous "since the alleged male victim no longer is Mr. Benson's household member and was not a household member for the past few days." Conviction of assault with family violence would draw a stiffer penalty than simple assault.

"In cases like this, we don't feel it's appropriate to comment before there's some kind of legal resolution," Bengals spokesman Jack Brennan said.

Last summer, Benson was arrested over an alleged bar fight in Austin. Police charged him with misdemeanor assault for allegedly punching a bar employee in the face. Benson has denied the charge, and the case is pending.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell met with Benson about the arrest last year and decided not to punish him. Benson could face a suspension for his latest arrest once the players and the league reach a collective bargaining agreement, clouding his future in the NFL.

Benson was Chicago's first-round pick out of the University of Texas in 2005. He had two alcohol-related arrests with the Bears, who let him go in 2008. He signed as a free agent with the Bengals and led them in rushing yardage each of the last three years -- 747 yards in 2008, 1,251 yards in 2009 and 1,111 yards in 2010.

The 28-year-old running back was disappointed last season when the Bengals went 4-12 after moving away from their run-based offense that won them the AFC North title in 2009. After the Bengals changed offensive coordinators, Benson lobbied to stay in Cincinnati.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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