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Pattern Of Behavior Results In Benson's Release
Despite what appeared to be a never-ending supply of patience when it came to Cedric Benson's on-field shortcomings, the Bears didn't waste much time -- or demonstrate similar patience -- when it came to the former first-round draft pick's off-field transgressions.

Indeed, the Bears finally rid themselves of Benson, waiving the former first-round pick after he missed Monday's organized team activities.

"Cedric displayed a pattern of behavior we will not tolerate," general manager Jerry Angelo said in a statement. "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."

There's no doubting Benson's failure in that regard.

Facing a second alcohol-related legal charge in five weeks, Benson told the Chicago Tribune on Sunday in a phone interview that he intended to attend the OTAs. Benson provided no reason for Monday's absence -- although his Texas-based attorney, Sam Bassett, told the Chicago Sun-Times that Benson showed up but was sent home by head coach Lovie Smith.

Not that it matters now. ...

The No. 4 overall pick by the Bears in the 2005 draft, Benson had a disappointing NFL career thus far, failing to reach 1,000 yards rushing in his three seasons in Chicago. He played in 35 games for the Bears, starting 12.

In 2007, Benson's season was cut short by a broken leg, an injury which sidelined him for the final five games.

Benson averaged a career low of 3.4 yards per carry last year, finishing the season with 674 yards and four touchdowns on 196 carries.

Of course, one man's bad news becomes a positive for others.

While insider John Clayton is suggesting former Lion Kevin Jones and ex-Seahawk Shaun Alexander might be of interest to the Bears, adding a veteran free agent is unlikely to change the team's current plan.

In April, the Bears bolstered a running game that ranked 30th in the NFL in yards per game and 32nd in yards per rush last year by selecting Tulane running back Matt Forte in the second round of April's draft.

In comparing Forte to Edgerrin James, the Sports Xchange recently noted that Forte tends to get stronger as the game wears on and has made steady progress recovering from late 2006 knee problems.

Forte was the focal point of the opposing defense every week at Tulane and still put up numbers. He's also considered a high-character individual.

Perhaps making the decision to release Benson a bit easier, Forte has been impressive in recent workouts. He looked especially fluid and athletic catching the ball out of the backfield.

"Matt Forte stood out," Smith said following the team's initial rookie mini-camp. "I thought he caught the ball well. He showed some good quickness, he has good size. All the things we thought coming in, we got a chance to see."

And now, thanks in part to Benson's foolishness, we'll all get a chance to see plenty of Forte this season.