Cedric Benson still has an unresolved legal issue

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Three running backs were taken in the top five picks of the 2005 draft, and each of them will be unrestricted free agents when the lockout ends.  One of them, Bengals running back Cedric Benson, has a pending legal issue that could affect the market for his services.

Joe Reedy of the Cincinnati Enquirer writes that a trial on criminal charges arising from an alleged incident occurring in May 2010 has been delayed, at the request of Benson’s lawyers, until August 29.  Per the Austin-American Statesman, the trial was scheduled to begin today.

The trial now falls in the middle of the preseason (if there is one), limiting Benson’s ability to prepare for either his next season with the Bengals or his first with a new team.

The lingering charges came from a bar fight, during which he allegedly punched a bar employee in the face.  The NFL already has cleared Benson under the personal conduct policy, which possibly contributed to the fact that we’d completely forgotten about the incident.

If Benson is convicted, it’ll remain to be seen whether any action is taken by the league.  The decision not to punish Benson suggests that the league has reviewed the matter, and that the league has concluded it has no merit.  Given the aggressive manner in which the NFL has implemented the policy, that says a lot about the value of the evidence.

Drafted by the Bears six years ago, Benson’s career there flamed out after multiple off-field incidents, including allegations of drunk boating and drunk driving in 2008.