Cedric Benson practicing at the Chicago Bears 2007 Training Camp.
|Free Agent — No. --|
|Date of Birth: December 28 1982|
| Place of Birth: Midland, Texas
|National Football League debut|
|2005 for the Chicago Bears|
|Career Highlights and Awards|
|NFL Draft: 2005 / Round: 1 / Pick: 4|
|Career stats to date|
|Stats at NFL.com|
Cedric Myron Benson (born December 28, 1982 in Midland, Texas) is a running back in the National Football League who is currently a free agent. He was drafted fourth overall in the 2005 NFL Draft by the Chicago Bears.
High school careerEdit
Benson began to emerge as a football stand-out in the eighth grade while attending Abell Junior High School in Midland, Texas. Benson attended Robert E. Lee High School 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. Benson was selected by the Los Angeles Dodgers in 12th Round of the 2001 MLB Draft. He was placed on the temporarily inactive list in 2001, but did play in 9 games for the Gulf Coast Dodgers, LA's rookie league affiliate.
Benson was a four-year starter at The University of Texas, 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, 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.
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 conference opponent, Baylor.
The Chicago Bears selected Benson as the fourth overall selection in the 2005 NFL Draft, making him the highest drafted Bears player since Dan Hampton in 1979. The Bears’ organization and Benson could not come to terms on a contract, causing him to miss the entire Bears' training camp. After a thirty-six day hold-out, Benson signed a five-year contract worth thirty-five million dollars. 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. Benson claims that he received a cold reception upon his return.
The team temporarily made Thomas Jones their feature running back for beginning of the 2005 season. 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.
After the 2005 season, the Bears considered making Benson the team's feature 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 NFL season, against the Buffalo Bills. In a game against the New England Patriots during week twelve of the 2006 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."  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. 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. 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. Benson, who had amassed 647 yards and four touchdowns, was relieved by Adrian Peterson. Jerry Angelo, the Bears' general manager, has expressed interest in acquiring a new running back to revitalize the Bears' running game, which finished last in yards in the league. 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.” The Bears drafted running back Matt Forté in the 2008 NFL Draft to provide Benson with some competition for the starting job.
Before the start of the 2008 season, Benson was arrested for allegedly operating a boat while intoxicated and resisting arrest. The incident occurred on May 3, 2008 near Austin, Texas by the Lower Colorado River Authority during a late night safety inspection. The official police report cited that Benson had failed a field sobriety test, and became hostile towards the police. The officers arrested Benson, and proceeded to use pepper-spray after he forcefully resisted arrest. Benson was later detained for the night, and released in the morning after paying a bail of $10,000-$14,000 for BWI and an additional $4,500 dollar charge for resisting arrest.
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. 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.” He also asserts that officers continuously struck his ankles and feet to prevent him from walking properly. 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.
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.” If found guilty, Benson’s charges can be penalized with up to six months in jail and a $4,000 dollar fine.
On June 7th, 2008 it has been reported that Benson was arrested for a DWI in downtown Austin, Texas after failing a field sobriety test.
Released by the BearsEdit
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