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Cedric Benson suspended three games

Cedric Benson has a history of off-field troubles. (Ron Chenoy/US Presswire)

Cedric Benson is reportedly facing a three-game suspension for off-field trouble he was involved in during the lockout. If the suspension holds -- and Benson's expected to appeal it -- the Cincinnati running back would miss Weeks 4 through 6 of the regular season. He will play this Sunday against San Francisco.

Benson was arrested in July -- the second summer in a row he'd run into trouble with the law -- then served four days in jail on a plea deal just prior to the regular season.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell had earlier opted to not suspend either Titans WR Kenny Britt or Tampa Bay CB Aqib Talib for incidents they had during the NFL's lockout. Benson, perhaps because of his past run-ins, was not so lucky.

It's a tough blow for a Cincinnati offense that Benson himself said was making some strides, with rookie QB Andy Dalton playing well in a Week 2 loss at Denver. Benson helped the Bengals to a Week 1 win in Cleveland, 27-17, rushing for 121 yards and a late touchdown.

The expected Benson appeal will once again put the NFL's current disciplinary system in the spotlight. Goodell is the one who hands down suspensions, and he's also the one who hears appeals, sort of eliminating any checks and balances in the procedure.

The lateness with which Benson's July incident was resolved may have contributed to the delay in Goodell's decision here. Both Britt and Talib found out prior to Week 1 that they would not be suspended; Benson had to wait until nearly Week 3 to find out his fate.

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