Updated: 11:55 p.m.
With no ruling yet, Bengals running back Cedric Benson practiced Wednesday and is going to play Sunday but his case is a lot more complicated than that. His lawyer doesn’t think there is going to be an imminent decision following Tuesday’s long and complex hearing before NFL executive Harold Henderson and at least one web site is suggesting it could take months.
Benson said he's preparing to carry the torch for players unhappy with how the NFL hands out its discipline and how the NFL Players Association finalized the new collective bargaining agreement.
“It’s complicated. It’s more than a case about discipline and the issues are substantive and many,” David Cornwell said of Benson’s appeal of a three-game suspension. “I would think it would be difficult for Mr. Henderson to wrap his arms around the case in time to make a decision soon and at this point it would be unfair to the team and Cedric if he couldn’t play (on Sunday), but I’m not sure what the timetable is.”
Cornwell is disputing the suspension on the grounds that there was a lockout in place when the legal incident took place and that the league has no jurisdiction, as well as Benson’s case being part of an agreement between the NFL and NFL Players Association that is in dispute.
In the wake of the ratification of the new CBA back in August, the league and the union signed a letter that appears to give the NFL the right to discipline eight players that were viewed as repeat offenders after off-field problems during the lockout. Cornwell says that’s how the NFL is arguing with the NFLPA having a different view and, “Cedric is being used as a pawn in this (CBA) issue,” and that's why they've filed a grievance with the National Labor Relations Board.
Later, Cornwell told ProFootballTalk.com that he believes that grievance must be decided first before any discipline is meted out and PFT theorized that could take awhile.
"The NLRB process triggered by the filing by Benson of an unfair labor practice charge, if ultimately dispositive on the issue, could delay the case for months not weeks," PFT said, "given the speed (or lack thereof) with which the NLRB moved in connection with the unfair labor practice charge filed by the NFL during the labor dispute."
Benson was clearly pleased with how the hearing went Tuesday knowing that Cornwell is one of the top sports attorneys in the country.
"He had a really good day. I was very impressed and kind of intrigued by the lawyer battle. That was fun," Benson said.
Also in the mix is the meeting NFL commissioner Roger Goodell had with Cornwell and Benson after an incident on Memorial Day weekend, 2010 in which Cornwell says it appears Benson was exonerated after Goodell heard his side of the story.
“Our view is there was a lockout, the CBA had expired, the union had decertified, and Cedric (a free agent) was unemployed,” Cornwell said of the July incident.
Benson is ready to carry the fight on the field and the hearing room.
"I’m not thinking about it anymore. The most stressful part was (the hearing). I wanted that to go well and I feel it did; that’s behind me now,” Benson said before practice. “If I have to be the one to stand up and face things to make changes whether it be with the PA or the NFL, or whatever, somebody’s got to do it.”
Benson said he’ll be as mad as he was when he played last Sunday against the 49ers.
“For the most part I want to get out there and kick some butt just in case, for whatever reason, I’m not out there after this weekend,” Benson said. “I want to end it on a big note.”
SLANTS AND SCREENS
» Lewis said left end
» Geathers and fellow defensive end Jon Fanene (knee), off his two-sack game, were listed as limited, as were safety
» Lewis said right guards
» Even though safety
» If there's anybody that can scout out a chip on the shoulder, it's the fiercely-proud Benson, and he knows that Bills quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick has one after playing with him in 2008: "I think he might got a little bit of chip on his shoulder being from Harvard, right? And he kind of wants to be successful in this league and you can kind of sense that about him."