Jerry Angelo and Cedric Benson

Cedric Benson is innocent until proven guilty, of course. And the friends lucky enough to be invited onto his luxury yacht are coming to his defense, stating he did nothing wrong and was manhandled. How that situation will play itself out, only time will tell.

Regardless of how that situation plays itself out, in my opinion, Benson is an aloof, overpaid, underachieving bust.

I still find it interesting how Benson even became a Bear. Let’s all remember that following the 2002 season, Jerry Angelo announced that Anthony Thomas was not an elite running back So prior to the 2004 season, Angelo signed Thomas Jones to a very reasonable contract before the sun rose on the first day of free agency. Jones was a perfect fit for Terry Shea’s hybrid Kansas City/St. Louis offense, we were told.

Following a miserable offensive season in 2004, Shea was fired and Ron Turner hired. Despite Jones turning in decent rushing numbers, and catching more passes in a season than any other Bears running back in history, Smith, Turner and Angelo decided the Bears needed a stronger inside runner at the position.

That’s all fine and good. But as soon as the pre-draft scouting publications started calling Benson soft, a character risk and “like Rickey Williams but not as good,” my thought was “how is Benson different than Thomas?” Thomas was a free agent and attracted very little interest from other teams. I thought instead of drafting Benson with the fourth overall pick and sinking millions upon millions guaranteed into a potential head case, why not just re-sign Thomas to a reasonable deal, since Thomas had at least proven something?

But alas, that’s not how it worked out, and Bear fans sit in the offensive morass year after year. Indeed, the Benson saga prompted Pro Football Talk to release their bust list from the 2005 first round, and Benson sits squarely on that list.

Let’s just hope that Angelo thinks Matt Forte is an elite back, after investing a high second-round choice in him.

3 Responses to “Jerry Angelo and Cedric Benson”

  1. Mark O'Conner on May 8th, 2008 at 10:15 am

    Re: Benson,

    The photo of a bunch of black millionaires with a boatload of white beauties reminded me of one of my own sports-related experiences in the deep south. I was headed for a soccer game–in the back of a station wagon in which all the other passengers were dark-skinned (South Africa, Brazil, Columbia, Paraguay…I think I was the only native Yankee in the group). We were pulled over by the Tennessee police who were about to give the drive a hard time when they saw me in the back, reconsidered, and let us go.

    I’m not a big fan of Benson (I was betting the Bears would draft a guard that year, with Jones on the roster I really thought they’d try to find an understudy for old Reuben Brown), but I’ve personally seen Southern, racist cops in action. Later in life, as a deputy prosecutor, I dismissed many arrests where the cops made a bad arrest, sometimes by letting their egos get in the way. On at least 1 occasion, it was clear the officers made a point of arresting a black man because he was dating a white woman (sorry to say, but things like this do still happen–thankfully not as often anymore…not that it makes any difference, but I’m a white guy married to a Chinese woman and I was the victim of racism in Taiwan–and, once, of a bad arrest based on a false police report).

    So, I say give Benson the benefit of the doubt at this point–the arresting officers were probably Cowboys fans (and I’d probably get irate if I was out having a good time and some cops started hassling me). Might Benson have been drunk? Maybe. Might the cops have been jealous of a black athlete with a boatload of beautiful white girls while they have some fat, toothless wives at home? Maybe. So far, the dozen witnesses on the boat seem to be supporting Benson’s side of the story…and I’ve been around long enough to know that police lie and manipulate the truth at times (less so, probably, but it still happens).

  2. John Munzenmaier on May 14th, 2008 at 9:43 am

    Although we should proclaim Benson “innocent until proven guilty,” we should also consider his past track record both on and off the field. After all this is the man that scouting publications claimed had character flaws and was like Ricky Williams but “less talented.” It is also the man whose fumble in Super Bowl 41 changed the tempo of the game and who was a complete flop as a starter last season, Yet he replaced Thomas Jones, a reliable running back, who almost single handedly destroyed New Orleans in the playoffs and then rushed for over 100 yards in the Super Bowl. Cedric Benson is a loser, and it is likely the Bears will be losers, too, as long as they keep him.

  3. I,too haven’t liked Benson, but when I hear of a backwoods cop hasseling anyone like what I am hearing, it reminds me of the movie ‘Macon County Line’, But about Benson, I know he can be a good #2 running back. Beside’s if he plays like he party’s, he might have a good year.

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