The Cincinnati Bengals' players have actually been doing a fairly decent job of staying off the police radar through the majority of the lockout, and we all know this to be an unusual amount of restraint for that franchise. But as if there's some sort of primordial internal radar that comes with that striped helmet, several Bengals have reverted to type just as the labor strife comes to an end.
The latest Bengal to exhibit mid-season form is running back Cedric Benson, who may have just tanked any free agent value he had with yet another arrest in Texas. Benson was charged with assault on a family member early Sunday morning, yet another legal battle in the Lone Star State since he came to the NFL. In June of 2008, Benson was arrested for boating while intoxicated, an incident that led to his release from the Chicago Bears. Last year, Benson was charged with assault in a bar fight.
In just the last week, cornerback Pacman Jones (who should just about be out of chances at this point) and safety Marvin White were arrested in separate incidents. The upside: If you want proof that the lockout is almost over, the Bengals are making up for lost time and adding to the NFL's police blotter at a rapid rate.
In other legal news, two Indianapolis Colts — Jerry Hughes and Stephen Hodge — were arrested early Sunday morning for public intoxication at a Dallas nightclub. The two TCU alums will have a bit more to answer for when the lockout is over, as the Colts aren't known for the same level of tolerance in such matters.
Here's some actual non-arrest stuff! Carolina Panthers receiver Steve Smith, who gave us a tremendous interview this week here and here, is rumored to have two primary teams on his destination list if his current team decides to trade him: the Baltimore Ravens and San Diego Chargers. Smith has said that he would like to be traded to a playoff contender; the Panthers went a league-worst 2-14 in 2010.
The lockout talks will continue Monday and Tuesday, and the NFLPA is contacting all the named plaintiffs in the Brady v. NFL lawsuit to settle the action as a positive step toward labor peace.
When the lockout does end (most likely next Thursday, after the owners ratify the new collective bargaining agreement), Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Jack Del Rio says that first-round quarterback Blaine Gabbert may not start right away, because he was impacted in his development by the work stoppage.
Del Rio is one of several coaches who may get a reprieve from the hot seat because of the lack of offseason preparation afforded staffs as a result of the lockout. Gary Kubiak of the Houston Texans and Tony Sparano of the Miami Dolphins are two other coaches who may see the same hidden benefits.