ST. LOUIS, MISSOURI - DECEMBER 18: Running back Cedric Benson #32 of the Cincinnati Bengals fumbles a ball which was recovered by the Bengals in the first half of the game against the St. Louis Rams on December 18, 2011 at the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Whitney Curtis/Getty Images)
Cedric Benson, who has been the Bengals starting running back for the past three and a half years, probably will not be returning to the Bengals in 2012. Benson had resigned with the Bengals on a one year deal last July, but seemed out of place in Jay Gruden's west coast offense this year.
Over the years, numerous ideological differences have added up between Benson and the Bengals organization, and it would shock Bengals fans everywhere if he returned. The team has not reached out to Benson at all this offseason, nor has any NFL team, actually.
@SiriusXMNFL: Hasn't met with any teams yet about signing. Expects 2 be part of 2-back rotation wherever he goes.Ced Benson update from
Perhaps swayed by Benson's 4 arrests since 2008, or his lack or production on the field, no teams are even calling the former feature back and fourth overall pick. Benson's personality and running style may also be factors here too. Benson prefers to carry the ball 20-30 times a game as a team's go-to running back. He was extremely successful in this role in 2009, but, in the following two years, he often voiced concerns about not getting enough carries.
Now looking for a job himself, Benson has greatly changed his stance on being part of a running back committee:
Were you disappointed in how you were utilized in that [Jay Gruden] offense?
I wasn't disappointed. I mean, I think at the time, I was maybe a little bit confused and didn't really understand. In hindsight, I'm grateful for the opportunity. A lot of teams are going to a two-back scenario, and, having my carries down and having a lot of rotational things like that, if, for whatever reason, it presents itself in the future I'm asked to perform in a two-back scenario, I can always revert back to my experience there in Cincinnati this past season, and be able to apply that to my game at the moment.
At the time, granted, I didn't understand. I was a little bit confused. [I had a] great offseason again, I was poised to have a big year and I knew we could be very dominant on the ground, and things like that, but you have to take everything in a positive light. All things happen for a reason.
It's interesting to me that Benson was "confused" that he received only 15% less carries this year than he did in 2010, when he had the most carries of his career. Benson simply can't get enough carries, can he?
For that reason, it's hard to guess where Benson will land this season. I imagine that he will probably be signed by a team with a strong number one feature back, and he will carry the ball 50-100 times to ease the workload of his teammate. Benson will turn 30 years old in 2012, and, given the shelf life of running backs, it's hard to believe that he will be a prominent name much longer.
On the other hand, despite how many fans perceive Benson as an arrogant, selfish player, Benson's lasting image in Cincinnati should not be a horribly negative one. Sure, Benson struggled to produce on the field and stay out of trouble, but please watch Benson's interviews, and listen to him on the radio. He is actually a very nice, amiable guy. He is easygoing, casual, and very kind to his fans. Perhaps if he stayed out of the bar and stopped talking about his carries, we would remember a very different Cedric Benson.