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Benson looks forward to clearing name, winning starting job

LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Cedric Benson was back in Bears camp Wednesday working out with the first string weeks after he was arrested in Texas.

Benson was arrested on Lake Travis in Texas on suspicion of boating while under the influence and resisting arrest. He said neither charge is true.

**Cedric Benson**, RB
Chicago Bears
2007 statistics
Att: 196

Yards: 674

Avg: 3.4


"It would be nice to have it gone and get it cleared up and over with, but you know, I don't really spend too much time thinking about it at all," Benson said. "I'm sticking to my story and the truth will come out, sometime, whether it be now or a year from now or whenever."

Benson has a court date of June 30. He said he does not plan to file a civil rights lawsuit against the Lower Colorado River Authority police, although he has said officers used excessive force.

Benson took issue with critics he believes have jumped to conclusions without knowing facts of the incident, including Bears general manager, Jerry Angelo.

After the arrest, Angelo expressed disappointment Benson would "put himself in position to be the victim."

"He'd have to explain to me how I put myself in a situation to be a victim," Benson said. "I was just enjoying myself, doing my own thing."

Benson has often said he didn't feel a part of the team after a monthlong contract holdout his rookie year, but the 25-year-old fourth-year veteran said teammates have his back now.

"It wasn't just over the last couple weeks, I think they took me in a while back, last year," Benson said. "Speaking on this situation and the things they've had to say about it have been really great. They've been very supportive from that fact."

Benson drew criticism last year for not being in shape. His season ended when he broke his left leg just above the ankle Nov. 25 after gaining 674 yards on 196 carries.

"I feel faster, stronger, clearer, healthier," Benson said.

Benson has lost 10 pounds after going through rehab for his injury. The Bears drafted Tulane running back Matt Forte in the second round last month, but Benson is lining up at the voluntary practices ahead of his new competition.

Benson both expects and is looking forward to a battle for the position in training camp.

"Nobody wants to be given anything," he said. "It makes it more fun and more exciting when you've got to fight for it."

Notes:Bears WR Mark Bradley is missing workouts following arthroscopic surgery on his right knee this month. Team officials said it's "questionable" whether Bradley will be healthy enough to participate at the outset of training camp July 23. Wide receivers coach Darryl Drake said he expects Bradley to recover in time for camp. ... Several Bears missed Wednesday's voluntary workout, including Devin Hester, Brian Urlacher, Alex Brown, Jamar Williams, Charles Tillman and Tommie Harris. The team's minicamp is May 30-June 1 and is mandatory for all players

Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press

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