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Marvin Lewis: Bengals Need To Improve Rushing Offense Which May Or May Not Include Cedric Benson

This was a running play -- not a pass.
This was a running play -- not a pass.

As we've pointed out earlier today, Cedric Benson is an unrestricted free agent and most indications, including recent reports that the team and running back haven't even spoken together during the offseason, seem to suggest that Benson won't be back next year in a Bengals uniform. During the NFL Combine Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis (and we're sure his unsettling laugh) stood in front of the podium for a press conference on Friday. When asked about the team's rushing offense, Lewis said that the team simply needs to get better and if that "includes Ced, that includes Ced. We need more explosive plays."

However former Bengals defensive tackle turned local analyst John Thornton points out the more telling response:

When asked, Marvin said Ced Benson has had a "fine, fine career". Code words for Ced not in plans. 9 minutes ago via Twitter for iPhone · Reply · Retweet · Favorite · powered by @socialditto

If Benson signs with a new team during the offseason, he'll have completed his Bengals career by generating three consecutive 1,000-yard seasons (somewhat of an overrated milestone for a 16-game schedule), during an otherwise serviceable stint despite his 15 fumbles in four seasons (12 in the past two seasons). However the constant public criticism has grown tiring, as his somewhat declining ability in recent seasons to avoid a molecule of air that ultimately trips him up, causing him to lose his center of gravity.