When Cedric Benson was setting records, first in high school and then at the University of Texas he knew an NFL career was his for the taking. The Bears drafted him fourth overall and then things started to go downhill. He held out, alienating his teammates and fans, starting a 4 1/2 year odyssey where he never proved worthy of his high draft standing.
The Bears cut him loose in 2009 and Benson found himself in unfamiliar territory. The Bengals decided to give him a try and he responded with three 1,000 yard seasons. When a new contract was not in the offing, Benson tested free agency and heard crickets. 29 year old running backs are not high on any team’s priority list–just ask Ryan Grant.
A couple of weeks ago Benson gained national attention after an interview with Adam Schein and Rich Gannon on Sirius XM radio. He choked up and got very emotional when talking about the lack of interest from teams and his desire to show that he has more to give. He learned about eight years too late ow fortunate he was to be an NFL player.
Turns out the Packers and Raiders had shown interest in Benson in July. Since Ted Thompson failed to address the running back position in the draft despite letting Grant leave via free agency, there was always a chance the team would look at the available pool of backs should one of the team’s ball carriers get hurt, or should Alex Green prove that he’s not ready to return.
When James Starks suffered a pesky turf toe injury, one that could take weeks to heal (after looking terrible in the preseason opener), Thompson signed Benson, giving him a chance to start for a Super Bowl contender in the short-term. He’s still a strong between-the-tackles runner who excels in short yardage and could become a nice option at the goal line.
Benson signed a one-year deal for the veteran’s minimum, with no signing bonus. There is no risk to the Pack. If he proves to be washed up, the team can release him at no cost. If he proves to be an asset for what looks like a rather anemic position on the depth chart, it will look like a shrewd move.
And best of all, imagine if Benson plays a part in the Pack returning to the Super Bowl. Imagine how Bears fans will feel seeing Cedric Benson possibly winning a Super Bowl ring with the Packers. Awesome.