Just got off the horn with Cedric Benson about 45 minutes ago.
He was emphatic that he was not drunk and did not resist arrest after officers from the Lower Colorado River Authority stopped his boat for a routine safety check just after 9 p.m. Saturday on Lake Travis, near Austin, Texas.
``I was not intoxicated,’’ Benson said. ``There was alcohol on the boat and others were enjoying themselves but I wasn’t drunk. It’s not like my boat was over the passenger limit or anything, either. It’s a 37-foot boat. Every time I go out there I get pulled over.’’
Benson said he was on the water in early April before the club’s voluntary offseason program began, and he was stopped then for a routine safety check. Asked if he had any idea why he’s seemingly targeted, he replied, ``I do.’’ He explained he’s a high-profile person in the area.
Benson boarded the LCRA boat and they put him through a battery of tests. According to Benson, he was cooperative the entire time and passed every test administered.
``You can’t give a sobriety test on boats because they’re in motion, they’re in the water and they’re rocking,’’ he said. ``I was on their boat and I still passed every test they gave me.’’
His account of events is vastly different than the one portrayed earlier in the day in a report by the LCRA. They assert Benson became a threat and had to be pepper sprayed. He said he remained cooperative, even after being subdued with pepper spray. He said once he reached shore he was tripped, had his face slammed into the ground and was choked with a hose being continuously run in his face. Benson said he declined to take a breath test once in custody at the advice of his attorney, Brian Carney.
He acknowledged the timing of the incident is not good in the wake of his rehabilitation from a broken leg. The franchise has said he might not be the answer at running back, and backed up those words by drafting Tulane’s Matt Forte in the second round. Benson is anxious to get back to work, saying he’s in the best shape of his professional career. He’s planning to return for voluntary offseason workouts on Tuesday after tending to matters Monday.
``I’m going to rise to the occasion like always,’’ he said.