Chicago Bears running back Cedric Benson was released yesterday following his second alcohol-related arrest in a month.

"Cedric displayed a pattern of behavior we will not tolerate," general manager Jerry Angelo said in a statement. "As I said this past weekend, you have to protect your job. Everyone in this organization is held accountable for their actions."

The Bears had already made it clear they were losing patience with Benson when they drafted Tulane's Matt Forte in the second round in April. Three ineffective, injury-plagued years during which Benson at times annoyed teammates with blunt comments left management looking for another running back. And that was before the recent brushes with the law.

Benson's rocky relationship with the Bears took a turn for the worse when he was arrested on a drunken-driving charge in Austin, Texas, early Saturday after failing a field sobriety test. Benson was released on bond.

The fourth overall pick of the 2005 draft also was arrested May 5 and charged with boating while intoxicated and resisting arrest on a lake near Austin. Both cases are pending.

"I apologize for making the poor decision to drink and drive during the early morning of Saturday, June 7th," Benson said in a statement. "Given the incident last month, it was a particularly bad decision. I have no excuse for this lack of judgment. Though I strongly believe that I am not guilty of any crime, I realize that the public and the Bears organization hold me to higher standard."


* Tennessee linebacker Ryan Fowler is under investigation by the NFL in connection with an apparent steroids case, Fowler's lawyer said. Peter Ginsberg said that Fowler was notified late last week that he faces suspension. The lawyer said he assumes the investigation stems from the apparent suicide last week of David Jacobs, a convicted steroids dealer who met twice with NFL security officials and gave them names of players he said bought steroids from him.

* Former NFL quarterback Ken Stabler was arrested and charged with reckless driving and driving under the influence of alcohol in Robertsdale, Ala. *