(Photo: Law Enforcement/Associated PressAP)
Cincinnati Bengals running back Cedric Benson had a change of heart about when he would start serving a 20-day jail term on two misdemeanor assault cases.
Benson began his sentence late Tuesday in the Travis County (Texas) Jail, which means that the Bengals star running back could be back on the field in time for the season opener Sept. 11. When Benson reached the terms of a settlement with the Travis County prosecutors, he originally agreed to begin his jail term on Oct. 17. The reasoning is that he would surrender at the start of the Bengals' bye week in hopes of not missing any games.
But moving the start date of his sentence up might be even better. Benson should serve a significantly shorter sentence, with time already served and good behavior, which means there is a good chance he will be free before the season opener. The 28-year-old former Texas star will also now be able to answer questions only once about his sentence when he returns to Cincinnati, instead of having to field the constant buzz of bad publicity and a media barrage of questions about the case, leading up to Oct. 17.
"Mr. Benson is thankful for his supporters in Austin and Cincinnati," his attorney, Sam Bassett, said in a statement released to the media. "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’s most recent assault case came last month when he allegedly punched his former roommate in Austin. The 28-year-old running back pleaded no contest to the charge of assault with bodily injury with family violence. The case will be dismissed as long as Benson performs 30 hours of community service and pays restitution to the victim, according to AP.