Remember Cedric Benson before he came to Cincinnati? He didn't get along well with teammates, we heard. He was just another distraction on a team that was owned by a guy nicknamed The Redeemer. I remember it. I also remember thinking to myself, "for the love of god, anyone has to be a better option than Chris freaking Perry." Benson joined the Bengals early in the 2008 season and, while he hit the hole hard, finished his runs, didn't fumble the football, he didn't make that much of a difference. In his first four career games with the Cincinnati Bengals, Benson rushed for 137 yards on 41 carries for an average of 3.3 yards-per-rush and no touchdowns. But he was the best option on a Bengals offense that absolutely stunk.
Benson would go on to record 462 yards from scrimmage on 89 touches in the final three games of the season. Not bad for a guy that was let go as a lost cause. Since December 21, 2008, Benson has led the NFL with 813 yards rushing and, at one point this year, led all running backs with the most rushing yards in the league.
I would say he's been pretty awesome for us, wouldn't you?
This week gives Benson a new motivation. The Chicago Bears are the team that cut bait on Benson, which, in the long run, seemed like a "best of both worlds" argument. Benson would go on to repair his image and rebuild his career with the Bengals while the Bears found a good replacement in Matt Forte. But one has to wonder, is Benson calling this weekend's game against the Bears, a revenge game, which local writers are calling "Benson Bowl"? Chick Ludwig (yes, he's back!) writes:
Benson brushed off the “R” word (revenge) and said he harbors no animosity against his former team. However …
“I definitely feel more accepted here,” he said. “I found a way to make things work … what was given to me here.
“I came in when the team needed a lift and provided that. I was definitely on the path of coming up and the Bengals just got a little piece of that.”