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Thursday, July 21, 2011
Lawyers in Cedric Benson case spar

ESPN.com news services

Cedric Benson's attorneys claim in a statement released to media outlets Wednesday that the man whom the running back allegedly assaulted last weekend is threatening to agree to media interviews if they do not agree to a "settlement" meeting.

Attorneys David Cornwell and Sam Bassett, however, said "there is nothing to settle" and that Benson would be "unburdened by the threat of extortion."

The attorney for Claven Charles, the alleged victim of the assault, said he was "disheartended and puzzled" by the statement from Cornwell and Bassett.

In his response to KXAN-TV in Austin, attorney Thomas Crowley said he and his client have received numerous calls from the media but have declined all interview requests.

Crowley says Benson's attorneys tried to set up a settlement meeting, then canceled it, and instead released their statement to the media.

Crowley said Charles was hospitalized after the incident and "has incurred thousands of dollars of medical bills, and he has further medical procedures pending."

"This is especially disconcerting because neither I nor my client have made any request for money from Mr. Benson at this time, nor have we threatened to file suit. The purpose of the meeting, in my mind, was to understand Mr. Benson's intentions regarding this serious matter," Crowley said in the statement.

Travis County sheriff's spokesman Roger Wade said Sunday that Benson was arrested in downtown Austin, Texas, on a misdemeanor count of assault with bodily injury with family violence.

Benson's attorneys also said in the statement that "Cedric did not act without provocation."

Benson will be a free agent when the NFL lockout ends after leading the Cincinnati Bengals in rushing each of the past three seasons. He hoped to stay with the Bengals, and worked out with players in Cincinnati during the lockout.

In their statement, Benson's attorneys said, "Cedric regrets the events of this weekend and he is committed to addressing any concerns that NFL teams may have."

Last summer, Benson was arrested in Austin. Police charged him with misdemeanor assault for allegedly punching a bar employee in the face. Benson has denied the charge, and the case is pending.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell met with Benson about the arrest last year and decided not to punish him. Benson could face a suspension for his latest arrest, once the players and league reach a collective bargaining agreement, clouding his future in the NFL.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.