Angelo Speaks on Benson

LAKE FOREST — Chicago Bears General Manager Jerry Angelo issued the following statement regarding the contract negotiation with Cedric Benson:

"After missing all of training camp, we want to make it abundantly clear that the Chicago Bears have made their best and final offer to Cedric Benson. No dollars are left on the bargaining table, and at this point the only contract discussions that will be entertained will be reflective of the considerable loss of value to the Club created by the player's extended absence.

"We will not provide details regarding contract negotiations, however, in an effort to move forward and focus solely on preparing for a winning football season, we believe it is important for everyone to know our position on Benson's contract situation as his holdout enters day 26 and now is the NFL's only unsigned first round draft choice.

"The Chicago Bears have always placed a premium on having our players in camp on time, and recent history reflects our excellent track record. Our last four number one draft picks have been signed on time for the opening of training camp. Two of those picks, Rex Grossman and Tommie Harris, were also represented by Benson's agent, Eugene Parker.

"The failure to reach an agreement on a fair and reasonable contract has been a huge disappointment. We look forward to having Cedric end his holdout and join his coaches and teammates, as they prepare for the upcoming season."

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