According to the Detroit Free Press, the Lions brought in a trio of running backs to meet with their staff on Tuesday. Of Shaun Alexander, Vernand Morency, and Cedric Benson ... it would appear the Lions have made their choice:
In a report by News 8 Austin, a 24-hour news channel in Texas, (city council member Mike) Martinez and Benson, a former Texas Longhorns back, were supposed to announce a program by Benson's charity to help children get winter coats, but Benson was not in Austin for the announcement.
"Unfortunately, but fortunately, Cedric Benson is not here today," he said. "He is actually signing a contract today to get back in the game with the Detroit Lions ... "
Also contained in the article was information that the Lions were not in a huge hurry to sign the back, because they are happy with their current backfield situation and this is merely injury insurance. If that is really true, the Lions front office is even dumber than we have thought all along.
Let's go at it logically ...
1. Benson was available for all of training camp.
2. Tatum Bell was Kevin Smith's backup during camp.
3. When Rudi Johnson became available, the Lions immediately jumped at the opportunity to sign Rudi and cut Bell.
4. Now, all of a sudden, after two weeks, the Lions wish to add Benson.
If you add those four facts together, it's common sense to at least consider that the Lions are, in fact, unhappy with the current backfield situation after two embarrassing weeks.
Benson's not the answer ... considering he's abrasive, lazy, has a sense of entitlement, a bad arrest record, and is not a good ball-carrier. Other than that, I'm sure he'll fit in just fine to the losing philosophy of the Matt Millen administration.
This is not a sign to add Benson to your roster. He was a colossal bust last year as a starter for the Bears, and it appears that he'll begin either week three or four as a third-string runner on a terrible team.
The main fallout from this is that your confidence in Kevin Smith should be shaken. The Lions have added two veteran backs behind the rookie in less than a month. It's possible the Lions are telling the truth and they really are just hedging their bets. Even if that is true, however, I'd be throwing the rook on the trading block. The Lions are going to be playing from behind an awful lot, and that means handing it off.