Cedric Benson, the running back the Bears drafted fourth overall in 2005, was killed in a motorcycle accident around 10:30 p.m. Saturday in Austin, Texas. He was 36. A female passenger on his motorcycle was also killed in the accident, which also involved a minivan. Two people in the minivan suffered minor injuries. The New York Times reported that the minivan was pulling out from a stop sign when the accident occurred on the west side of the city. Both vehicles caught fire.
A legendary college player at the University of Texas, Benson scuffled when he arrived to the NFL. His Bears career started off with drama — a long holdout during training camp. He eventually signed a $35 million holdout, but was cut after only three seasons after two alcohol-related incidents.
Benson kept his job after a boating DUI charge, but a car DUI charge in Austin, Texas, led the team to waive him in June 2008 after only three seasons.
”Cedric displayed a pattern of behavior we will not tolerate … “ Bears general manager Jerry Angelo said then, in a statement. “When individual priorities overshadow team goals, we suffer the consequences as a team. Those who fail to understand the importance of ‘team’ will not play for the Chicago Bears.”
Just this week, Benson was found guilty of a misdemeanor charge in Travis County, Texas, after prosecutors dismissed a drunk driving charge.
Our condolences to the friends and family of former Bears running back Cedric Benson, our 4th overall Draft pick in 2005 and member of the 2006 NFC Champions team. pic.twitter.com/vz10iCyhYe— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) August 18, 2019
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To my man Cedric B. I remember hearing all of these football stories about you when the bears drafted you 4th overall. You and I always got along..even with pads on, if I hit you or you hit me a little harder than usual..it was always followed by an apology..which was followed by a "you good". You ran all over us when you played for the Bengals. As mad as I was at the way we played that day. I gave you the biggest hug after the game..because I was so damn proud of you. R.I.P. #32
Former Bears running back Thomas Davis wrote on Twitter that he woke up to the news.
“My heart aches for him and his family,” Davis wrote. “Sending love, peace and blessings their way. Gone way too soon my brother. Rest well young King. You will truly be missed.”
His best seasons came with the Bengals — he had 1,251 rushing yards in 2009, 1,111 rushing yards in 2010 and 1,067 in 2011.
Very sad day with the passing of Longhorn Legend Cedric Benson. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends and our community of lettermen. He will be missed. pic.twitter.com/7v7rJioFis— Texas Football (@TexasFootball) August 18, 2019
His final NFL season came in 2012, when he played five games for the Packers.
He won the Doak Walker Award, given to the nation’s best running back, at Texas in 2004.
The Austin American-Statesman first reported the news Sunday morning.