Benson might not serve time at all

8/6/2004 - Texas Longhorns

AUSTIN -- Texas senior running back Cedric Benson was
sentenced to serve eight days in jail after pleading no contest
Friday to misdemeanor criminal trespassing for an incident during
the 2003 season.

But due to crowding at the jail and credit for good behavior, he
will likely only spend a fraction of that time -- if any -- behind

"We don't have beds available," said Travis County sheriff's
spokesman Roger Wade.

Police said Benson forced his way into an apartment last October
to search for a stolen television.

The charge was a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to a year
in jail. Travis County Judge Elizabeth Earle also ordered Benson to
pay a $1,000 fine and up to $600 in restitution for the apartment's
damaged door and court costs, said Benson's attorney, Brian Carney.

Benson, who was allowed to serve his jail time on weekends, will
be with the Longhorns when the team reports to training camp on

Of the eight days he was ordered to serve in jail, four were
subtracted for good behavior, Wade said.

Benson also was given credit for being in jail the day he was
arrested and an additional day for checking in Friday and being
released due to jail crowding.

If he checks in Saturday and there is a community service
project available, he'll be credited for two days and finish his
sentence. If there is not a community project, he can complete his
time on Sunday, Wade said.

"He's not being given any preferential treatment," Wade said.

Benson should finish his jail term before the season opener
Sept. 4 against North Texas. He served a one-game suspension after
his arrest last season.

"I understand that I made a mistake and I'm taking
responsibility for my actions in accepting my punishment," Benson
said in a statement released by the school.

Carney said Benson accepted the jail time rather than drag out
his case -- and potential publicity -- through a long probation
period during the coming season.

Prosecutors offered Benson a conviction with probation for a
year with community service, anger management counseling and
similar fines.

"I had some options in how it was handled, but I think what I
accepted will have the least effect on my teammates, the coaches
and everyone at UT. I didn't want this to drag on through the
season," Benson said. "Even though it's more difficult on me by
taking care of it now, it's in the best interest of my team in the
long run."

Coach Mack Brown said Benson's plea brings "closure to an issue
we dealt with last fall with Cedric. I know he's glad to have this
behind him so he can move on."

A likely Heisman Trophy contender this season, Benson has been
one of the most prolific ball carriers in Texas history with 3,706
yards rushing and 45 touchdowns.

"All he wants to do is get this behind him and go play football
and have a great senior year," Carney said.

"This is an unusually harsh course that was taken for a
misdemeanor offense like this," Carney said. "I don't think it
would have taken that course if he didn't play football."

Benson originally was accused of entering the apartment with
three other men but Carney said no one else has been charged in the