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An Old Debate Recalled: Cedric Benson vs. Derrick Ward

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You could probably file this under "something that might only interest me." Before the 2009 season, during the offseason where billionaires court millionaires, Cedric Benson was an unrestricted free agent and many believed that the team courting him, the Houston Texans, would have an advantage of signing Benson because it'd allow him to return to his home state.

So the Bengals kept their options open, even inviting Derrick Ward in for a visit. Afterall, Ward had just recorded his first 1,000-yard season with a 5.6 yard-per-rush average and 41 receptions. Impressive, right? In late February, it was reported that the Bengals were one of five teams to offer Ward a contract. While he wanted Michael Turner money, Ward ended up signing a four-year deal worth $17 million with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Soon after Benson returned to Cincinnati to sign a two-year deal. Perhaps to stay away from Texas, where his karma hasn't been the greatest.

Flash forward a year later.

Benson, best termed for having a breakout season, recorded 1,251 yards on 301 rushes and six touchdowns in 2009. Ward ran for 409 yards rushing on 114 rushes and a single touchdown. Then Ward got fat, joining Tampa Bay's training camp this year overweight. And in the second-year of his four-year deal, Tampa Bay announced that they released Ward Tuesday afternoon.

All the while Benson still figures to be prominent in the Bengals offense, heading into a contract year that could give him big riches.