CHICAGO – it’s finally over. We can now move on to more pressing issues like the quarterback controversy, the Brian Urlacher saga, the receiving core that lacks star power….name the position, there’s an issue.

But one has slightly been resolved. Cedric Benson was waived by the Bears Monday after being arrested on his boat in Austin, Texas, getting pulled over for speeding through a construction zone in Chicago and most recently, being arrested for suspicion of DUI over the weekend in Austin. Benson was an easy target for Austin’s finest when they caught him speeding through a red light in an area known for its nightlife between 3 a.m. and 4 a.m. Note that all of these incidents happened in the same offseason within a five-week span.

While it should be a gloomy day in Chicago, there will no doubt be parties throughout the Windy City. Jerry Angelo finally admitted his 2005 first-round pick was a bust and solved the competition at running back.

“Cedric displayed a pattern of behavior we will not tolerate,” Angelo told reporters Monday at Halas Hall. “As I said this past weekend, you have to protect your job. Everyone in this organization is held accountable for their actions. When individual priorities overshadow team goals, we suffer the consequences as a team. Those who fail to understand the importance of ‘team’ will not play for the Chicago Bears.”

Not surprisingly, Benson showed up for work Monday and was promptly sent home. About two hours later, the statement was released announcing the news that the Benson was no longer a Bear.

Now, you have to believe that the job is that of Matt Forte’s to lose. Forte, who like Benson, was drafted with the expectations of bolstering the Bears running game that has been less than impressive for years – much like the quarterback position. As long as Forte proves that he can stay out of trouble off the field and do a decent job at running back this season, Bears fans should take the situation as a tremendous upgrade. Signing a veteran to add leadership might not be a bad idea, either, but with the way the Bears like to throw around money, you can be assured they won’t exactly go on a spending spree.

Benson has stolen the headlines the entire time he has been in Chicago. From exciting Bears fans with high expectations when he was drafted, to literally flopping on the field, No. 32 has been the talk of the town. He hasn’t exactly produced on the field, but the unfortunate thing is that he showed promising signs of improvement at the end of last season. Sure, leg injuries have plagued his short career, but just before his most recent season-ending injury, he made some plays that got at least a small contingent of Bears fans optimistic heading into the 2008 season.

His offseason diet of organic foods got him healthy and brought a lighter, faster, and more focused Benson to mini-camp. But still not being able to prove himself on the field and constantly creating controversy off the field, his release has to come as a relief. It’s almost like that girlfriend that you know you should break up with, but don’t want to because you see future potential…then you finally break up with her and realize you are a different person without her…yeah, it’s that kind of relief. The future is all in front of the Bears. Angelo can only hope that Forte isn’t as big of a bust as Benson. Perhaps he can join Ricky Williams. What a “smoking” tandem that would be.


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