Really Cedric? You don't think it had anything to do with your trouble with the law and your poor stats?
While Cedric Benson's play on the field has shown signs of improvement and maturity with the Cincinnati Bengals, his conversation with the Chicago media on Wednesday showed how he is still the same person we all knew and grew to dislike when he was a Chicago Bear.
Several different sources, including Zach Zaidman from WSCR 670 and Jeff Dickerson from ESPN, reported that during a recent conference call with media members, Benson made several claims that the Chicago Bears organization spoke negatively of him when other teams called to inquire after his release in 2008. He maintains that it was the main reason why he could not sign with another team earlier than midseason.
"Anything negative that they could say was said...I'm sure that contributed largely to me not getting picked up right away," Benson stated.
Benson also claimed that the Bears told the league that "...I didn't work hard. That I was a prima donna."
Maybe this writer missed something, but Benson did not really do much to warrant a positive recommendation from the Bears by the time he was let go.
He was hurt constantly. He complained about playing time. He was never a really good team player and he had two separate run-ins with the law for suspected alcohol issues in the span of two months. Not to mention that when you step back and look at his total body of work with the Bears, it is not what you would call impressive.
Heck, it isn't even what some would call half decent.
The simple fact the Jerry Angelo and Lovie Smith gave up on him after only three years should be a sign that he just was not putting forth the effort. Both Angelo and Smith seem to give players with far less talent at least that much time if not more before realizing it is a useless venture (i.e. David Terrell, who was actually given four years).
But in all seriousness, Cedric Benson had a tumultuous stint with the Bears, after being drafted with the fourth pick of the 2005 NFL Draft. And really, the only person he has to blame is himself.
He held out for the first 36 days of training camp before finally signing. Missing most of the preseason caused him to be the backup to Thomas Jones and Benson went through some ups and downs as a rookie. During his second year, his game seemed to improve, but with that unfortunately came an even cockier attitude as he called out Lovie Smith for not starting him.
When given the starting role in 2007, he responded with 674 yards rushing over the first 11 games and had a 3.4 yards per carry average. Not exactly the jaw dropping numbers he seemed confident he would put up. Plus he only played three fourths of the season due to an ankle injury.
He then ran into trouble with the law that following offseason. He was first arrested for driving a boat while intoxicated (charges that were later dropped) on May 3rd and then was pulled over, and after failing a field sobriety test and refusing to take a breathalyzer, was detained by police on June 7th.
The Bears released him the following day for displaying, "...a pattern of behavior we will not tolerate," according to Jerry Angelo.
However, since signing with the Bengals in midseason last year, Benson has finally shown why he was drafted as high as he was, running with authority and power. He is currently the leading rusher in terms of yardage in the NFL.
But to claim that the Bears blackballed him from being signed by another team is just foolish.
I mean, all the Bears had to do was tell the truth.