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Cedric Benson died at 36; Star-crossed running back Benson finally gained respect



Cedric Benson

When Cedric Benson was anticipated as a top-five pick in the 2005 NFL Draft in spite of red flags about his character, the Bears went to an inside source to get the genuine scoop on the productive rusher from Texas. They asked wide receivers coach Darryl Drake, who was a colleague at Texas in Benson’s first three seasons in Austin before taking the Bears work when Lovie Smith was enlisted in 2004.

“We basically had a guy live with him for three years,” then-Bears director of college scouting Greg Gabriel said at the time. “That gives us an advantage over everybody else. Darryl was very, very close to the kid. So we know the kid.”

In an unusual incident that has left the Bears’ more distant family reeling in shock, sadness, and mourning for the second time in seven days, Cedric Benson died at 36 in a motorcycle accident Saturday night near Austin — seven days after Drake passed on unexpectedly at 62 at Steelers training camp in Latrobe, Pennsylvania.

The Bears association and previous partners expressed shock and paid respect to Cedric Benson after updates on his passing broke.

“Woke up to the horrible news of Cedric Benson’s passing,” former teammate Thomas Jones tweeted. “My heart aches for him and his family. Sending love, peace, and blessings their way. Gone way too soon my brother. Rest well young King. You will truly be missed.”

Truth be told, Cedric Benson was an ambiguous figure in Bears’ history, an enthusiastic, difficult, misconstrued, star-crossed personality who had an unfulfilling three-season tenure in Chicago.

Cedric Benson was drafted fourth overall by then-general manager Jerry Angelo after a productive profession at Texas, where he rushed for 5,540 yards and 64 touchdowns. Be that as it may, a 36-day contract holdout — the longest in modern Bears history — prompted a moderate begin. What’s more, a clumsy dynamic on the field and in the locker room with Jones, who had signed a four-year, $10 million contract in free office the earlier year, complicated issues.

Cedric Benson never truly fit in with the Bears, as a running back or as a colleague. He rushed for 647 yards and six touchdowns in 2006, a season where the Bears reached at the Super Bowl. In any case, by then he was in the shadow of Jones, whose once-stalled career blossomed the moment Benson arrived. In Super Bowl XLI, Jones rushed for 112 yards on 15 carries; Benson lost one yard on two carries.

After the Bears traded Jones to the Jets to move Cedric Benson into the highlighted back role in 2007, destiny inevitably dominated. Exactly when it showed up Benson was getting into a furrow — increasing 136 yards on 19 carries in consecutive games against the Packers and Broncos — he endured a broken ankle, finishing his season.

Cedric Benson confused issues in the offseason when he was charged with boating while inebriated in Texas in May 2008. After a month he was charged with a DUI, and Angelo had seen enough. He released Benson on June 9.

Be that as it may, that would not be the end of Cedric Benson’s NFL career. The Bengals successfully treated Benson for Celiac disease, an intestinal issue that may have caused the lethargy and other issues that turned individuals off to him here. As healthy as ever, Benson had three sequential 1,000-yard seasons and 20 touchdowns with the Bengals in 2009-11. He rushed for 169 yards and a touchdown in a playoff misfortune to the Jets in 2010.

Not adventitiously, his best game came against the Bears, a career-high 189 yards and a touchdown in a 45-10 triumph at Paul Brown Stadium on Oct. 25, 2009. Benson was as happy as he had ever been in the NFL.

“What a wonderful day and a wonderful thing,” he said, “to go out there and strut your stuff.”

Also, regardless of all the terrible occasions, the awful decisions, the bad news, and self-inflicted injuries, the individuals who knew Cedric Benson best — including numerous previous colleagues — were happy for him.

Dan Zinman started his career as an astronomer and college professor and quickly expanded into popularizing the understanding of science and scientific discovery. He did this through writing books, essays, and articles. He is contributing by writing news articles for

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