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CEDRIC BENSON’S STRIFE FINALLY OVER
Fri, 04 Nov 2011 12:51 PM EDT

Running back, Cedric Benson has returned to practice with the Cincinnati Bengals team. He came back on Wednesday to begin training again after a two week layoff that turned out to be a bit shorter than he had expected. NFL odds

The running back went home to Texas for the Bengals’ bye week, and then stayed there to serve a one-game suspension for violating the NFL’s personal-conduct policy. Despite his inconvenient absence, the Bengals (5-2) won without him, beating the Seattle Seahawks 34-12 on the West Coast.

Benson was added back to Cincinnati’s 53-man roster Wednesday and expects to get most of the carries Sunday at Tennessee. The two weeks away seem to have rejuvenated him, he even said so on Wednesday. NFL spreads

“Just time to rest the body and mind, just put things in perspective,” Benson said before practice. “It’s amazing what the time away does. You put so much into this, and when things don’t go well, it tries to mess with you. Getting away from it helps put it in perspective. I hate missing the game, but two weeks is a blessing in disguise. Have to have something positive to say about it.”

There was one other positive for Benson: It could have been much worse. The NFL originally proposed a three-game suspension after Benson settled two misdemeanor assault cases in Texas. He served a five-day jail sentence before the season began, and then waited to see if the league would punish him. Benson appealed the suspension on grounds that the second arrest came during the NFL’s lockout. He argued that players shouldn’t be disciplined for anything that happened when there was no collective bargaining agreement. The league disagreed, citing federal labor law. It also noted that the first of the two cases occurred last year. But the penalty was reduced from three games to one, which Benson considered a victory. He feared the league would stick with the three-game ban which would have given him a bit longer of a vacation than he wanted to endure.

“Yeah, it is (a victory),” he said. “I thought they would do what they normally do. Having some facts and having them look at it is a change in the right direction.” It’s certainly a change that the running back appreciated.

Although Benson made it to practice on Wednesday, others on the team weren’t so lucky. Adam “pacman” Jones was still absent due to his nagging hamstring injury as well as CB Nate Clements and Chris Crocker who were both suffering from knee injuries. TE Jermaine Gresham, who had also injured his hamstring, and LB Rey Maualuga, who was suffering from a sprained ankle, worked out on a side field as well. Jones said his right hamstring, which he pulled during a punt return at Seattle, felt about 60 percent strong Wednesday. He said he’ll play at Tennessee if it feels 70 percent to 80 percent healed. Hopefully, he doesn’t end up feeling 60 percent ready to play again on game day, though we can almost bet that he’ll push through it and play a good game. Brandon Tate won the AFC’s special teams player of the week award. For a good reason too since he returned a punt 56 yards for a touchdown at Seattle which is actually the Bengals’ first returned punt that has scored since 2003.


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