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  • Benson Believes Bears Tried To Blackball Him

    Benson believes Bears tried to blackball him
    By ANDREW SELIGMAN, AP Sports Writer
    1 hour, 19 minutes ago

    LAKE FOREST, Ill. (AP)—Cedric Benson(notes) believes the Chicago Bears did all they could to prevent him from signing with another team.

    Released in June 2008 after two alcohol-related arrests, Benson will come face to face with his former team when the Cincinnati Bengals host the Bears on Sunday. Although he insisted he’s not out for revenge and won’t try to send a message, Benson clearly has some bad feelings for the Bears.

    “I heard all the rumors that were said coming out of Chicago,” Benson said. “Even the Bengals told me all the things, that they would call and inquire about me and get nothing but negative things. Just that I didn’t work hard, that I was I guess a prima donna or I didn’t work hard on the field, just wasn’t focused, just anything negative that they could say, it was said. I’m sure that contributed largely to me not getting picked up right away.”

    Bears coach Lovie Smith insisted, “He was not blackballed by anyone in our organization.”

    Bengals coach Marvin Lewis said Smith even gave a good review of the running back, but Smith’s endorsement aside, Benson believes he had little support in Chicago. He wasn’t particularly popular with his teammates, either, and he believes the reason he remained unemployed until Cincinnati signed him on Sept. 30 last season was that alleged smear campaign by the Bears.

    Now, he’s the league’s third-leading rusher, which is quite a turnaround for someone who fizzled in Chicago after being drafted fourth overall in 2005. Instead of taking his place alongside Walter Payton and Gale Sayers, Benson rubbed teammates the wrong way and never fit in with the Bears.


    “Some questions that you all ask are very interesting because I don’t have the answers,” said Benson, who has 531 yards. “I think there was once upon a time where I would like to have known the answer. But now it kind of doesn’t really matter anymore. But I couldn’t pinpoint it. I remember there being a lot of talk about the holdout and things like that, but that’s quite ridiculous in this business because there are holdouts involved. It’s not just football, there’s the business of contracts involved. I’m sure there was once upon a time where many players on that team had a holdout or something along those lines.”

    Benson was the last first-round pick to sign in 2005 after a standout career at Texas and missed training camp that year, setting a bad tone for his three seasons in Chicago. Complicating matters: incumbent Thomas Jones was a popular figure in the locker room and the two never really meshed.

    He once told the Chicago Sun-Times that Jones, who eventually was traded to the Jets, punched him in the face during a practice drill, and Benson wondered why the Bears even drafted him.

    “You know how in drafts teams always want you to agree to something before they pick you or they’re probably not going to go with you?” he asked. “There was a bit of that before I was picked. I never agreed to anything but still managed to get picked there.”

    He said a “small group of people” in the organization believed in him, but most were against him. While Smith might have been in his corner, Benson said “no” after a lengthy pause when someone asked if the offensive coaches had his back.

    The tension with Jones and issues with the coaches weren’t the only problems.

    He annoyed teammates with blunt comments, was frequently injured and didn’t produce enough when healthy. The Bears were still reeling from Tank Johnson’s(notes) numerous run-ins with the law when Benson got arrested twice in a month on alcohol charges in and near Austin, Texas. He eventually was cleared, but Chicago had already let him go.

    “There were a few times where I was kind of down on myself,” Benson said. “But I knew that would get me nowhere. All I wanted to do from that point on was to move forward. So I accepted the situation and found a way to learn from it, found a way to be somewhat thankful that it happened, and move forward.”

    In Cincinnati, playing alongside Carson Palmer and Chad Ochocinco, Benson seems to be a good fit. Palmer was skeptical at first, but now has him over for dinner.

    “None of the stuff I read was true. I don’t know exactly what happened,” Palmer said.

    Maybe Benson changed. Maybe the perception and reality didn’t quite mesh. Or maybe it just helped that he joined a team needing a running back.

    “Dreams are coming true,” he said. “It’s a wonderful feeling and I will promise you that I will take full advantage of it all the time.”

    AP Sports Writer Joe Kay in Cincinnati contributed to this report.

Related Topics


  • RamsFan16
    Benson may not sign with Bears!!
    by RamsFan16
    Bears, not Benson, lose in blinking contest

    August 25, 2005


    Is it possible Cedric Benson, who is smarter and more thoughtful than folks in Chicago know, simply doesn't want to play for the Bears? That he has had a whiff of the Halas Hall experience and prefers to sit out the season and cast his future lot elsewhere? If I were a premier, young running back and knew the tortured track record of Rashaan Salaam and Curtis Enis, then grasped the enormous pressure to fill cleat marks in the city of Walter Payton and Gale Sayers, I might blow off $17 million in guaranteed money, too.

    Ted Phillips and Jerry Angelo, negotiators first and winners when convenient, have spun Benson's image into that of a problem child. I say the kid is a visionary.

    You hear all sorts of local commentators, many in bed with the Bears, claim Benson is sabotaging his NFL career by not accepting the standing offer. In fact, maybe he's just a free spirit who smells a dog franchise when he sees one. It's daring, I know, to buck the big system. When Bill Polian, president of the Indianapolis Colts, criticizes Benson for holding out, you realize the league is about a partnership of franchises -- management vs. the salary structure -- more than any cutthroat competition to win the Super Bowl. That said, if Benson isn't comfortable enough to put his signature to a contract, I don't understand how fans can castigate him simply because Angelo, Phillips and the Lake Forest propaganda machine want people to adopt their hardline stance like so many sheep.

    If you were beginning the rest of your life out of college, tell me: Would you want to launch your career with a company like the Chicago Bears? A team that can charge a mean Permanent Seat License fee but can't develop a quarterback? If Benson sits out the year, he can launch a fresh start next season. In a league in which Ricky Williams is granted a second chance after his Reefer Madness tour and Maurice Clarett manages to get drafted after mounting an absurd legal challenge, what stops another team from recognizing that Benson's legs and body are fresh and investing sizable sums?

    I've endured too many lost seasons to side with the Bears this time. The extenuating circumstances of Rex Grossman's injury should have prompted Teddy Bear to abandon his role as Protector of the McCaskey Millions and meet Benson's wishes. If he's as good as he was advertised last spring as the No. 4 pick, the bruising running back from Texas might be just what the offensive coordinator ordered: someone who can control the football, gain 1,300 yards, remove the onus from whichever unprepared quarterback is playing and let a potentially exceptional defense win games. But the Bears, typically, prefer to stand firm rather than toss in an extra million bucks and try to save a season.

    -08-25-2005, 07:51 PM
  • txramsfan
    Bears make final offer to Benson
    by txramsfan

    LAKE FOREST, Ill. (AP) - Upset and frustrated that running back Cedric Benson is still a holdout and the only first-round draft pick without a contract agreement, the Chicago Bears have made their final offer to the No. 4 pick.

    "After missing all of training camp, we want to make it abundantly clear that the Chicago Bears have made their best and final offer to Cedric Benson," Bears general manager Jerry Angelo said in a statement released by the team.

    "No dollars are left on the bargaining table and at this point the only contract discussions that will be entertained will be reflective of the considerable loss of value to the club created by the players' extended absence," the statement said.

    Benson's holdout reached its 26th day Thursday and the former Texas star has already missed two preseason games. The Bears' training camp at Bourbonnais, Ill., ended Wednesday.

    The Bears are back at their Halas Hall training facility and play again Saturday at Indianapolis. They have two exhibitions remaining after that before opening the regular season Sept. 11 at Washington.

    The Bears have been burned by holdouts from first-round running backs in the past, most notably Curtis Enis, who was drafted in 1998 and is who is no longer in the NFL after a disappointing injury-plagued career.

    "The Chicago Bears have always placed a premium on having our players in camp on time," Angelo said noting that two other first-rounders represented by Benson's agent, Eugene Parker, were in on time - quarterback Rex Grossman and defensive tackle Tommie Harris.

    "The failure to reach an agreement on a fair and reasonable contract has been a huge disappointment," Angelo said, encouraging Benson to end his holdout and report to camp.

    The Bears expected Benson, the fourth overall pick in the draft, to challenge incumbent Thomas Jones for playing time.

    "There is nothing new," Parker said Thursday evening, adding that he did not have a reaction to the Bears' statement.
    -08-19-2005, 08:16 AM
  • Nick
    Bears LB Roquan Smith remains only unsigned 2018 NFL Draft pick
    by Nick
    Draft pick Smith's holdout among issues facing Bears
    GENE CHAMBERLAIN | Associated Press
    Monday, August 13, 2018 1:10 am

    BOURBONNAIS, Ill. – It has become a familiar refrain for Chicago Bears coach Matt Nagy. He has often repeated the words “nothing new” over the past 31/2 weeks regarding contract talks with first-round draft pick Roquan Smith.

    Nagy's first training camp with the Bears concluded Sunday, and it remains uncertain when defensive coordinator Vic Fangio can plug the former Georgia linebacker into the lineup.

    That's not the Bears' only problem as they head into a week of practices in Denver before playing the Broncos on Saturday in their third preseason game.

    Asked Sunday if missing all of camp would limit Smith's ability to be defensive field general on opening day, Nagy did not mince words.

    “I think it does,” Nagy said. “You're playing at that position and there are a lot of calls that go on, very similar to a quarterback, there's a lot going on. But I have full confidence in Vic and his staff that when he does get here, they'll get him up to speed and whenever that is, we'll see.

    “But again, that's why we all get paid as coaches is to try to help our players out as much as possible and that's kind of where we're at.”

    Neither the Bears nor Smith's agents have openly discussed the reason for the standoff.

    The Chicago Tribune reported that the sticking point in talks is the Bears' refusal to give up the right to reclaim some of Smith's guaranteed bonus if he is suspended for an on-field rules violation outside the parameters of a football play.

    Smith is the only unsigned player in the 2018 NFL draft class. The Bears haven't had Smith around since their June minicamp.

    “I think he knows that he's to be in shape,” Nagy said. “I think he knows that.”

    The Bears have two veteran inside linebackers on the field: Danny Trevathan and Nick Kwiatkoski.

    Players say they've avoided turning the holdout into a distraction.

    “It's pretty easy,” defensive end Akiem Hicks said. “I mean, we can't make him appear out of nowhere. You play with what you got and go forward.”

    Their other big problem revolves around the offense.

    Quarterback Mitchell Trubisky struggled in the new offense with interceptions in practice, then went 2 for 4 for 4 yards in his first effort against Cincinnati in a 30-27 loss Thursday night.

    “It's not rocket science to know that we need to be better in that,” Nagy said. “It's my job to make sure am I calling the right plays. It's their job to make sure they execute when they get those plays to come in.”

    Wide receiver Allen Robinson and wide receiver Taylor Gabriel did not play Thursday. Also absent was starting running back Jordan Howard.

    Robinson called camp a successful indoctrination to a complicated...
    -08-13-2018, 05:59 AM
  • rams_fan81
    Cedric Benson
    by rams_fan81
    What happened to him last year?

    I know he got hurt but i know he recovored too.
    -05-15-2006, 02:54 PM
  • RamWraith
    Grossman brings his 'A' game
    by RamWraith
    By Kathleen Nelson
    Tuesday, Dec. 12 2006

    Beleaguered Bears quarterback Rex Grossman made a national TV audience wonder
    what all the fuss was about. He pulled his weight and then some in leading
    Chicago to a 42-27 victory over the Rams that clinched a bye in the first round
    of the playoffs for the Bears.

    Grossman completed 13 of 23 passes for 200 yards with two touchdowns. Most
    important, he committed no giveaways for just the second time in two months. He
    described his performance as "efficient and decisive. I was able to relax.
    There was a lot of pressure on me to perform well. So I had to do it. I wanted
    to respond because of the way the coaches have backed me."

    For good measure, Grossman added a 22-yard run good for a first down.

    "That was fun to do," he said. "I don't do that very often, but I consciously
    went into the game thinking that I might have to make a play with my feet."

    Though the Bears (11-2) have won consistently this season with Grossman at
    quarterback, Grossman has been wildly inconsistent. His passer rating, a
    measure of consistency and efficiency, exceeded 100 in four of the Bears' first
    seven games. At that point, some experts considered Grossman a candidate for

    Since October 16, though, Grossman's passer rating has fallen below 50 four of
    seven times. The worst was a rating of 1.3 in the Bears' victory over the
    Vikings last week. Grossman completed just six of 19 passes for 34 yards with
    three interceptions, earning the lowest rating ever for a winning NFL

    Yet Bears coach Lovie Smith stood by his man through numerous inquisitions.
    Reports from the Bears' practice indicated that Grossman and Brian Griese split
    reps with the first unit Thursday and Friday, but that Grossman got about 65
    percent of the work Saturday.

    "Rex Grossman went through a lot this past week," Smith said. "His game has
    been dissected by everyone that knows anything about football. With a lot of
    pressure on him, I thought he really stepped up to the plate, played
    outstanding ball, did exactly what we expect him to do."

    Grossman got ample help from the backfield. Starter Thomas Jones gained 76
    yards on 11 carries with one touchdown, while "backup" Cedric Benson gained 64
    yards on 16 carries.

    "There was a lot of difference this week," Grossman said. "We ran the ball well
    and set up a lot of play action. That's the blueprint we've been trying to set
    since training camp."

    Jones, the older brother of Cowboys running back Julius Jones, topped the
    -12-12-2006, 04:33 AM