Cedric Benson is the NFL's leading rusher. You read that right. Cedric Benson, woeful former Bear, is through five games slightly statistically better than Adrian Peterson, the Vikings phenom you probably took first overall in your fantasy football draft.
The last time Cedric Benson was this notable, it was for following up a May 2008 arrest on a boat outside Austin, Texas (Benson said he was unfairly targeted and beaten by police) with a DUI in downtown Austin a month later. That was Benson's last stand as a Bear, but it wasn't the only reason why the Bears decided to say goodbye to a former No. 4 overall pick. Frankly, Benson wasn't any good.
This figures: Benson currently leads the NFL in rushing yards and has as many plus-20 yard runs as the most explosive running back in the game, the Vikings' Adrian Peterson. What's more, Benson is doing it for a surprisingly successful team; after a big win over the Ravens Sunday, the Bengals are 4-1.
So what gives? Why was Benson so disappointing then? (Remember when the Bears traded Thomas Jones to make room for him? Oy.) More importantly, why is he so good now? What gives?
The Bears can't put too fine a point on it -- Lovie Smith boils it down to "he's good at football" -- but Adewale Ogunleye seems to have a theory:
"For whatever reason, maybe he just didn't feel comfortable here with us. I'm glad he's found a place where he feels like the guys like him. And he's performing."
Where he feels like the guys like him? Really? This is why Benson wasted so much of the Bears' time and money and institutional effort during his years here? That's why ran in the 2006 NFC Championship Game like a man possessed and then spent most of 2007 tiptoeing his way to two-yard gains? Because he felt like he didn't fit in? Really?
Bears fans shouldn't feel too bad about it now, we guess; Matt Forte is an impressive runner in his own right, and he's a better blocker than Benson ever was, and the Bears were playing pretty good football before their bye this week. But still: How grating is that? To think Benson could have been all this and more in a Bears uniform, and the best answer for why he wasn't was sociability ... well, don't ever let anyone tell you they've figured the NFL out. We sure haven't.
Eamonn Brennan is a Chicago-based writer, editor and blogger. You can also read him at Yahoo! Sports, Mouthpiece Sports Blog, and Inside The Hall, or at his personal site, eamonnbrennan.com. Follow him on Twitter.