Bears haven't heard from Benson since camp started

BOURBONNAIS, Ill. -- Jerry Angelo painted a darker picture
Monday of contract negotiations with running back Cedric Benson,
the fourth pick in the draft.
The sides have not spoken since the start of training camp,
Angelo said.
"We're certainly on top of this," Angelo said. "We're very
motivated to get him into camp. We made a very, very strong offer --
something we felt should have gotten it done. Obviously, they
didn't think that. We have to respect their side, obviously. We'll
just wait and see what the next step is."
Benson's agent, Eugene Parker, did not return a message left at
his office Monday afternoon. San Francisco's agreement with
quarterback Alex Smith, the No. 1 pick in the draft, on Monday is
expected to set off a run of signings among first-round selections.
Philadelphia defensive tackle Mike Patterson and New England
offensive lineman Logan Mankins, the final two picks of the first
round, are the only first-rounders to sign so far.
"We haven't talked; we're waiting to hear from them," Angelo
said. "We'll just let it run its course. That's really about it.
[There's] nothing imminent at all."
Monday was the Bears' first practice in pads. The first
preseason game is Aug. 8 against Miami in the Hall of Fame game in
Canton, Ohio, and the season opens Sept. 11 at Washington. There's
plenty of time to fix the flaws. At the moment, there's no shortage
of optimism coming from the Bears' camp -- even though Benson
remains unsigned.
Coach Lovie Smith is downplaying his absence, but what if
negotiations drag on?
"I'm a day-to-day kind of guy," Smith said. "He's not here
today. Hopefully, he'll be here tomorrow. We'll just deal with it
as it goes. We have so much going on on the field right now, we
really can't think and talk about Cedric until he gets into