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Cedric Benson

Cedric Benson practicing at the Chicago Bears 2007 Training Camp.
No. 32     Cincinnati Bengals
Running back
Personal information
Date of birth: December 28, 1982 (1982-12-28) (age 27)
Place of birth: Midland, Texas
Height: 5 ft 11 in (1.80 m) Weight: 225 lb (102 kg)
Career information
College: Texas
NFL Draft: 2005 / Round: 1 / Pick: 4
Debuted in 2005 for the Chicago Bears
Career history
 As player:
Roster status: Active
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics as of the end of the 2009-2010 postseason
Rushing yards     3,760
Rushing average     3.8
Rushing TDs     19
Stats at NFL.com

Cedric Myron Benson (born December 28, 1982 in Midland, Texas) is an American football running back for the Cincinnati Bengals of the National Football League. He was drafted by the Chicago Bears fourth overall in the 2005 NFL Draft. He played college football for the University of Texas at Austin.

Contents

Early years

Benson began to emerge as a football stand-out in the eighth grade while attending Abell Junior High School in Midland, Texas under Coach Chris McKinney. Benson attended Robert E. Lee High School in Midland, Texas, and finished his career with 8,423 rushing yards in his career (the most in Texas 5A history and the fourth most in Texas high school football history). He led his team to three consecutive State Championships, and rushed for a total of 15 touchdowns in the three championship games. Cedric rushed for more than 1,900 yards in only 9 games. He was the first high school player to ever make the cover of Dave Campbell's Texas Football annual magazine. Cedric was also a center fielder on the baseball team. As a senior, in District 4-5A games, he hit .361 with 4 home runs and 14 RBIs.

Baseball career

Benson was drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 12th round (370th overall) of the 2001 MLB Draft. While Benson did not play in the major leagues, he spent his time with the Dodgers playing in their summer league at Vero Beach. He also played with the Gulf Coast League Dodgers. In 25 at bats he had 5 hits, 1 run, 3 doubles, 2 triples, and 2 RBIs. In 2003, Benson left the Dodgers to concentrate on his football career.

College career

Benson was a four-year starter at The University of Texas at Austin, where he received the Doak Walker Award as the nation's top running back in 2004. He finished his college career with 5,540 rushing yards to rank sixth all time in NCAA Division I-A history, and second only to Ricky Williams in school history. Benson was a 2004 All-America selection.

He has often been compared to Ricky Williams, due to their similarities in running style, college choice, legal complications,[1][2] and superficial appearance (roughly the same size and build coming out of college, and both had dreadlocks early in their careers), and the fact that they had both been minor league baseball players. Due to several off-field controversies involving Ricky Williams, Benson has tried to distance himself from Williams and establish his own identity. However, since entering the NFL Benson has had issues off the field as well.

While attending the University of Texas, Benson majored in social work and sociology. During his latter years, he earned membership into the Texas' Athletics Director's Academic Honor Roll, and the Big 12 Commissioner's Honor Roll in fall of 2003. Also, while in college, Benson was arrested twice, once for possession of marijuana and the other for criminal trespass. The marijuana case was dropped after a friend came forward and claimed ownership. He received 8 days in jail for the trespass conviction although he spent no time in jail other than the day of arrest due to overcrowding in Travis County Jail. He was forced to serve a one half game suspension against Baylor.[3]

Professional career

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Chicago Bears

The Chicago Bears selected Benson as the fourth overall pick in the 2005 NFL Draft,[4] making him the highest drafted Bears player since Dan Hampton in 1979.[5] The Bears’ organization and Benson could not come to terms on a contract, causing him to miss the entire Bears' training camp.[6] After a thirty-six day hold-out, Benson signed a five-year contract worth thirty-five million dollars.[7] The Bears wished to make Benson their feature running back, but his lengthy contract impasse had caused him to miss a significant portion of practice.[7] Benson claims that he received a cold reception upon his return because he claimed he would be starting by the third game despite holding out and not practicing.[8] Jay Glazer reported that certain players even attempted to intentionally injure him during drills,[9] though former Bears guard Ruben Brown has denied such claims.[10]

The team temporarily made Thomas Jones their featured running back for beginning of the 2005 season.[7] Jones' performance impressed the Bears' coaching staff, and earned him the top spot on the team's depth-chart for the next two seasons. Benson occasionally received playtime, and he rushed for eighty yards on sixteen carries against the New Orleans Saints during his best game. However, shortly afterwards, he suffered a medial collateral ligament sprain and missed most of the remaining season.[11]

After the 2005 season, the Bears considered making Benson the team's featured running back after Thomas Jones was unhappy with his current contract status. The team's plans went astray when Benson injured his shoulder after colliding with Brian Urlacher during a routine scrimmage. Although the injury was not serious, it placed Benson on the sidelines for a majority of the preseason.

Although Benson fully recovered from his injury, Lovie Smith selected Jones as the Bears' starter. Benson scored his first two touchdowns during week five of the 2006 season, against the Buffalo Bills. In a game against the New England Patriots during week twelve of the 2006 Chicago Bears season, Benson collided with linebacker Junior Seau, causing Seau to fall down and fracture his forearm.

Days later, Benson challenged Lovie Smith’s coaching by remarking, "the NFL is not like high school or college, but the best players don't always get on the field." [12] The following week, Benson out rushed Jones and scored a vital touchdown against the Minnesota Vikings. He began to receive more carries as the weeks progressed, and managed to rush for over 100 yards against the Green Bay Packers.

Benson became the Bears' secondary running back again during the playoffs. In the 2006 NFC Championship game against the New Orleans Saints, Benson scored a fourth quarter touchdown and totaled 60 yards. Though he was given a majority of the team's carries, his counterpart, Jones, amassed two touchdowns and 123 rushing yards.[13] In the team's following game, Super Bowl XLI, Benson sustained a knee injury in the first half, and missed the remainder of the game.

Lovie Smith named Benson as the Bears' starting running back after the team traded Thomas Jones to the New York Jets. Benson struggled throughout the preseason, but received enough support from his teammates and coaches to retain his starting position.[14] He amassed only forty-two yards in his first regular season game and committed a costly turnover. However, Benson rebounded with a 101-yard performance during his next start. After several inconsistent games, Benson began to stabilize after the bye week. In one of his best games of the season, Benson rushed for eighty-nine yards and scored one touchdown on eleven attempts. He averaged 5.8 yards in his next game, but sustained a season-ending ankle injury.[15] Benson, who had amassed 647 yards and four touchdowns, was eventually relieved by Adrian N. Peterson.[15]

Jerry Angelo, the Bears' general manager, had expressed interest in acquiring a new running back to revitalize the Bears' running game, which finished last in yards in the league.[15] Upon hearing the news, Benson commented, “You all know the competition that goes on around here. It doesn’t matter to me. Maybe somebody else can get some criticism.”[15] On June 9, 2008, Benson was released by the Bears following his second alcohol-related arrest in five weeks.[16]

In October 2009, Benson confirmed that shortly before he was released by the Bears, he had been diagnosed with Celiac disease.[17]

Cincinnati Bengals

Shortly after the grand jury failed to indict him on both incidents in Austin, Benson signed a one-year, $520,000 contract with the Cincinnati Bengals on September 30, 2008. The Bengals' roster opened up after running back DeDe Dorsey was placed on injured reserve. He originally backed up Chris Perry,[18] beginning his season in the loss to the Dallas Cowboys, rushing 10 times for 30 yards. Cedric Benson became the starting back for the Bengals for the Week 7 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers.[19] Benson rushed 14 times for 52 yards in his first career start as a Bengal, and ran over Steelers safety Troy Polamalu during a rushing attempt, giving the Pro Bowler a concussion. In the following 35-6 loss to the Houston Texans, he totaled 49 yards on 13 carries and had two receptions for 20 yards. The Bengals picked up their first victory of the season in a 21-19 game against the Jacksonville Jaguars,with Benson carrying 24 times for 104 yards and a touchdown. Benson hit his stride in the Bengals' three-game winning streak at the end of the season, gashing the Washington Redskins in week 15 with 161 all purpose yards, including 88 yards receiving (79 of which came on a screen pass). In week 16, Benson dominated the Cleveland Browns, rushing for 171 yards. In the final game of the season against Kansas City, Benson had 130 all-purpose yards, including 111 yards on 25 carries. In the twelve games he was active during the 2008 season, Benson had 932 all-purpose yards, including 747 yards rushing and 185 yards receiving.

A free agent after the 2008 season, Benson visited with the Houston Texans before signing a two-year, $7 million contract with the Bengals on March 3, 2009.

Entering week 8 of the 2009 season, Benson had 164 carries for an NFL best 720 yards (4.4 per carry average). In week 5, he became the first 100-yard rusher against the Baltimore Ravens in 40 games, when he rushed for 120 yards and a touchdown.[20] In week 7, Benson faced his former team, the Chicago Bears, and rushed for a career-high 189 yards and a touchdown.[21] After the game he celebrated in the locker room by playing the popular song, "I'm On A Boat" featuring T. Pain.

Benson went on to record his first 1,000 yard rushing season and set a Bengals franchise record with six games with over 100 rushing yards. He finished the season as the NFL's 8th leading rusher with 1,251 yards, despite only playing 13 games. He went on to set a Bengals postseason record with 169 rushing yards in their 24-14 loss to the New York Jets.

Personal

2008 arrests

Before the start of the 2008 season, Benson was arrested for allegedly operating a boat while intoxicated and resisting arrest.[22] The incident occurred on May 3, 2008 near Austin, Texas by the Lower Colorado River Authority during a late night safety inspection.[22] The official police report cited that Benson had failed a field sobriety test, and became hostile towards the police.[22] The officers arrested Benson, and proceeded to use pepper-spray after he forcefully resisted arrest.[23] Benson was later detained for the night, and released in the morning after paying bail of $10-$14,000 dollars for boating while intoxicated and an additional $4,500 charge for resisting arrest.[23]

Benson has since refuted the charges against him, and stated he requested to take a follow-up field sobriety test on land after failing the initial one.[23] Benson has further accused the officers of abusing him, stating, “I’m not handcuffed. I’m not under arrest. I’m not threatening him. I’m not pushing him. I’m not touching him. And he sprays me right in the eye.”[23] He also asserts that officers continuously struck his ankles and feet to prevent him from walking properly.[24] A female passenger on Benson's boat also claims to have witnessed the abuse and called her father out of fear for Benson's safety. Her fiance, also on the boat, may have dozens of pictures confirming Benson's account.[25]

Upon hearing about the incident, Bears’ head coach Lovie Smith stated, “I haven’t had a chance to speak with Cedric yet, but anytime we’re talking about one of our players getting arrested, you’re disappointed in it,” and added “What we’re going to do from here, I’ll go back and try to get as much information as I possibly can and go from there.”[26] Benson was later found innocent by an Austin grand jury.

Benson was arrested for driving while intoxicated in Austin on June 7, 2008. While returning from a restaurant with his girlfriend, police claim that Benson drove through a red light, and failed a field sobriety test.[27] Police claim he later refused to take a breath or blood test to determine his blood alcohol level.[27] Police proceeded to detain Benson, and later released him on bond. Benson has denied the police officers' allegations, and insisted that he 'aced' the field test.[28] Bears general manager Jerry Angelo commented, “It’s unfortunate. Disappointment is too much an often used word when we’re talking about Cedric. The No. 1 lesson for every player is protect your job. We’re all held accountable for our actions. I’m not going to say any more than that until we know for sure what the facts are.”[29] On the following Monday, Benson was waived from the Bears. Angelo commented on the release, stating ”Cedric displayed a pattern of behavior we will not tolerate... As I said this past weekend, you have to protect your job. Everyone in this organization is held accountable for their actions."[30]

Benson was later ordered by a county judge to put a built-in ignition interlock breathalyzer in his car. He was also told to start drug counseling classes.[31] Benson was cleared of all charges in September, after appearing before two grand juries in Travis County.[32]

References

  1. ^ George, Patrick (June 7, 2008), "Chicago Bears running back Cedric Benson arrested on drunken driving charge", Austin American-Statesman, http://www.statesman.com/blogs/content/shared-gen/blogs/austin/blotter/entries/2008/06/07/chicago_bears_running_back_ced.html  
  2. ^ "Report: Ricky Williams violates NFL drug policy", ESPN, February 20, 2006, http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/news/story?id=2336760  
  3. ^ Schulte, Sarah (2008-05-04). "Cedric Benson arrested in Texas". WLS-TV (WLS-TV). http://abclocal.go.com/wls/story?section=news/local&id=6121399. Retrieved 2008-05-11.  
  4. ^ McClain, John, Texans pick Travis Johnson; Bears draft Benson (April 24, 2005), Houston Chronicle. Retrieved on August 13, 2007.
  5. ^ Briggs, Brad, Benson speaks volumes (January 31, 2007), Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved on August 13, 2007.
  6. ^ Associated Press, Bears' Benson last first-round pick unsigned (August 18, 2005), USA Today. Retrieved on August 13, 2007.
  7. ^ a b c Eide, Paul, Bears' starting running back an obvious choice (September 4, 2006), Real Football 365. Retrieved on August 13, 2007.
  8. ^ Robinson, Charles, Double trouble (September 10, 2007), Yahoo! Sports, Retrieved on September 10, 2007.
  9. ^ The Chicago Bears defense does not endorse Cedric Benson - Shutdown Corner - NFL - Yahoo! Sports
  10. ^ http://chicagosports.chicagotribune.com/sports/football/bears/cs-080615-cedric-benson-chicago-bears,1,4412876.story
  11. ^ Associated Press, Vasher's 108-yard return lifts Bears over 49ers (November 13, 2005), ESPN. Retrieved on March 22, 2008.
  12. ^ Cedric Benson : USAToday.com - Cedric Benson Biography from USAToday.com
  13. ^ Wilner, Barry, Bears 39, Saints 14 (January 22, 2007), Yahoo! Sports. Retrieved on March 21, 2008.
  14. ^ Mayer, Larry, Veteran offensive linemen believe in Benson (September 5, 2007), chicagobears.com, Retrieved on September 8, 2007.
  15. ^ a b c d Mayer, Larry, Benson insists competing for top job won't faze him (January 8, 2008), chicagobears.com. Retrieved on January 26, 2008.
  16. ^ "Bears send home Benson, later release troubled running back". ESPN. 2008-06-09. http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/news/story?id=3434053. Retrieved 2008-06-09.  
  17. ^ http://www.nbcchicago.com/news/sports/Two-Former-Bears-find-new-life-in-Cincinnati-65945117.html
  18. ^ [1]
  19. ^ Ludwig, Chick (October 21, 2008), "RB Perry takes a back seat to Benson", Dayton Daily News, http://www.daytondailynews.com/sports/content/oh/story/sports/pro/bengals/2008/10/21/ddn102108spbengals.html?cxtype=rss&cxsvc=7&cxcat=25  
  20. ^ Bengals Keep RB Benson Yahoo Sports, March 3, 2009
  21. ^ Benson's career-high 189 yards leads Bengals in thrashing of Bears
  22. ^ a b c Castro, April (2008-04-05). "Chicago RB Benson arrested on intoxicated boating charge". Yahoo! Sports (Associated Press). http://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/news;_ylt=AtCbcYmmDxIefbsK_2SCXHP.uLYF?slug=txbearsbenson&prov=st&type=lgns. Retrieved 2008-05-05.  
  23. ^ a b c d "Bears RB Benson disputes charges". Yahoo! Sports. 2008-05-05. http://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/news;_ylt=AtCbcYmmDxIefbsK_2SCXHP.uLYF?slug=txbearsbenson&prov=st&type=lgns. Retrieved 2008-05-05.  
  24. ^ Darnell, Matthew J. (2008-05-06). "Party captain Cedric Benson claims innocence". Yahoo! Sports. http://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/blog/shutdown_corner/post/Party-captain-Cedric-Benson-claims-innocence;_ylt=AsrgIT.Na4slCJcxGpgXFKlDubYF?urn=nfl,80707. Retrieved 2008-05-06.  
  25. ^ Haugh, David (2008-05-07). "Friend sought help for Benson". Chicago Tribune. http://chicagosports.chicagotribune.com/sports/football/bears/cs-080506-cedric-benson-chicago-bears,1,2315723.story. Retrieved 2008-05-07.  
  26. ^ Mayer, Larry (2008-04-05). "Benson arrested on intoxicated boating charge". chicagobears.com. http://www.chicagobears.com/news/NewsStory.asp?story_id=4662. Retrieved 2008-05-05.  
  27. ^ a b Poretto, John (2008-06-07). "Bears RB Benson arrested on drunken driving charge". Yahoo! Sports. http://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/news;_ylt=Atey1v4dwUaPEr9cJEx3GQ0dsLYF?slug=ap-bensonarrested&prov=ap&type=lgns. Retrieved 2008-06-10.  
  28. ^ Darnell, Matthew (2008-06-09). "Cedric Benson has a job ... for at least a few more hours". Yahoo! Sports. http://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/blog/shutdown_corner/post/Cedric-Benson-has-a-job-for-at-least-a-few-m;_ylt=AsMxuPv2hNhGXTN.cvJW_etDubYF?urn=nfl,86827. Retrieved 2008-06-10.  
  29. ^ Mayer, Larry (2008-06-07). "Angelo frustrated, disappointed after Benson arrest". chicagobears.com. http://www.chicagobears.com/news/NewsStory.asp?story_id=4776. Retrieved 2008-06-10.  
  30. ^ Seligman, Andrew (2008-06-09). "Bears waive Benson following 2nd arrest". Yahoo! Sports. http://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/news;_ylt=ArLqibz0HqoOcJ2yRc7rggRDubYF?slug=ap-bears-benson&prov=ap&type=lgns. Retrieved 2008-06-10.  
  31. ^ Benson ordered to get breathalyzer device on car
  32. ^ Coe, Andre (2008-09-25). "Grand juries no-bill Benson over 2 Texas arrests". Associated Press (Yahoo! Sports). http://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/news;_ylt=Aur9j8O6QH_D27f4gGUCu89DubYF?slug=ap-bensonarrested&prov=ap&type=lgns. Retrieved 2008-09-26.  

External links

Awards
Preceded by
Chris Perry
Doak Walker Award
2004
Succeeded by
Reggie Bush
Sporting positions
Preceded by
Tommie Harris
Bears first round draft pick
2005
Succeeded by
Greg Olsen (2007)

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