He appeared relaxed and casual in court Monday. In all, Benson is facing three misdemeanor, alcohol-related charges right now. His court appearance Monday was to deal with the conditions of his bond, not to determine his innocence or guilt.
He walked into court casually, sitting with his attorney talking and smiling. His future as a football player may hinge on what happens in the next few appearances in court.
And while he may no longer be a Bear, in Austin, Texas, Benson is still a Longhorn legend, the second leading rusher in the storied history of University of Texas football. And even in the courtroom he signed autographs.
Judge Elisabeth Earle acknowledged as much when she told Benson he is a role model to young people. And she said she hopes he understands that.
"I feel recently you have made some attempts to make some statements to say that you were sorry for the actions you have made," said Earle.
Just three years ago, Benson was the top draft pick of the Bears and the fourth overall. After holding out, he signed a $35 million contract with a $16 million signing bonus.
But he never developed into the star the Bears envisioned. He finished last season on the injured list and was going to have to fight for his job this year after the Bears drafted another running back.
Then came his first alcohol-related arrest on his boat on Lake Travis. He claimed innocence. But a couple weeks later, Austin police arrested him for allegedly driving drunk at 2 a.m.
The Bears cut him the next day. And that's what brought him to court Monday. The judge cited his recent problems in suggesting he get alcohol counseling and ordering a breathalyzer ignition lock on his car.