Former NFL running back Cedric Benson was killed in a motorcycle crash on Saturday, per Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune (citing reports from multiple outlets). Benson’s passenger was also killed, and two others were injured. Benson was just 36.
After a stellar collegiate career at Texas — he rushed for over 1,000 yards in all four years with the Longhorns, including an 1,834-yard effort in his senior season — Benson was selected by the Bears in the first round (No. 4 overall) of the 2005 draft. As Biggs reminds us, Chicago already had Thomas Jones on the roster when Benson was drafted, so the latter’s career never really took off in the Windy City.
The Bears traded Jones to the Jets in 2007, but Benson struggled in his first year as the Bears’ No. 1 RB, and he was cut in June 2008 after his second alcohol-related arrest in five weeks. He was not indicted on either incident, though, and he caught on with the Bengals in September 2008. He posted 747 yards on 214 totes for a mediocre 3.5 YPC in his first year in Cincy before finally showing off his first-round credentials in 2009. From 2009-11, Benson averaged 1,143 rushing yards and over six touchdowns per season.
He signed with the Packers in August 2012 but played in only five games for Green Bay before suffering a foot injury that landed him on IR. That would be his last year in the NFL, and he ended his career with 6,017 rushing yards and 32 TDs on 1,600 carries to go along with 833 receiving yards and a receiving score.
Benson also dealt with legal troubles stemming from DUI/DWI arrests over the past couple of years, though it is presently unclear whether the accident that claimed his life was alcohol-related.
We at PFR offer our condolences to Benson’s friends and family, as well as to the friends and family of his passenger.