It was media day today and players from both the Bears and Bengals sounded off in preparation for Sunday’s matchup that some are calling the Benson Bowl. And Cedric couldn’t leave well enough alone. He sounded off about how the Bears blackballed him after he was released in June of 2008 follow two alcohol-related incidents with Texas authorities. (For full disclosure, he was cleared in both instances, but it’s Texas, where he was a hero. I’m thinking a little home cooking). Here’s Benson on his alleged blackballing:
“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.”
Didn’t work hard? Check. Prima Donna? Check check. Didn’t work hard on the field? Triple check. Um, gee, I don’t know. Do you think Benson may have blackballed himself with the two run-ins with the Texas police in a 5 week span? Not sure that exactly spells NFL Man of the Year.
Of course, Bears coach Lovie Smith vehemently denied such allegations, but I wish that he hadn’t. Call out that bum for what he was – a worthless, lazy piece of crap who got paid a king’s ransom to play a game and never cared to be professional enough to earn a penny of his $17-some million in guaranteed money.
As ESPN Chicago’s Melissa Isaacson reports, Ced hit “rock bottom” just before the Bengals came a-callin’
If there was a rock-bottom for Benson — the point at which a boy who feels sorry for himself finally becomes a man who owns up to it — it was in September 2008.
“There were times when I was sitting at home on the couch, reflecting on everything, and couldn’t believe where I was at — jobless, fourth pick, first round,” he said. “I was kind of down on myself, but I knew that would get me nowhere, and all I wanted to do from that point on was move forward.
“So I accepted the situation and found a way to learn from it and be somewhat thankful it happened and move forward.”
Sure, after the Bears booted him and he was sitting around trying to figure out how to fill out a job application at McDonald’s, he figured out what most players know coming into the league – that it is a privilege to play in the NFL, not a right. So what is Benson’s perspective on why it didn’t work out in Chicago?
“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.”
So when you see Benson on Sunday afternoon running hard and looking like he really cares about playing football, just remember this is the guy the Bears canned back in June of 2008.
Through the month of October, my usual BEAR DOWN signoff will be in pink to raise awareness for National Breast Cancer Awareness month.