Throughout the season, Cedric Benson rumbled about the team's offensive philosophy (click here to review). Along with addressing Chad Ochocinco's tweet that a Chad/Bill Belichick union would be "epic", Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis also addressed Benson's frustrations that was aired mostly with the media.
“Ced can be discouraged but Ced is going to answer your question and not look in the mirror and realize that he’s part of that. Unfortunately we all are,” Lewis said. “Ced’s passion and energy will make us a great football team again and I don’t want to curtail that and you have to take the bad with the good. I opened up the season talking that it was going to be difficult for Ced with all the attention going to the receivers and that he was going to have to hang through this.”
It's a response we figured Lewis would feel. Benson turned into a critical component in 2009 and somewhat of a clubhouse leader even though his performances noticeably declined in 2010, thanks to an offense that focused on passing the football. Though one could argue that the team was playing from behind during most games in 2010 and failed to find any rhythm in the running game.
Either way, from Lewis comments, you also got the impression that the Bengals will make a serious effort to retain Benson. We largely expected it, especially after negotiations were close to resolving in three-year extension over last year's offseason. However, as recently as December, while confirming that negotiations did take place over the summer, those conversations broke off. It doesn't matter now. The Bengals and Benson have to wait until a new Collective Bargaining Agreement is signed before Benson can sign a deal.
Now it would have been nice if Lewis responded to the context of what Benson said, and not why he couldn't keep his mouth shut.