We all remember Cedric Benson, don't we? Who could forget? The former No. 4 overall draft pick for the Bears never really came through on the promise of his potential, even after the Bears traded All-Pro veteran Thomas Jones to the New York Jets for a mere draft pick.
Then Benson was arrested for disorderly conduct on his boat in Austin, Tex. The Bears didn't release him then, though they did reprimand him. (For the record, Benson argued that he wasn't drunk and that he had been unduly harassed by police officers in the area several times before.) Just a few weeks later Benson was arrested for a second time for drunken driving, which pretty much sealed his Bears fate. He was released soon after.
Since then, Benson has been picked up by the Cincinnati Bengals, a team for which a drunken driving arrest is practically a team prerequisite. (Disorderly conduct? That's like a parking ticket in Bengal-land. No big deal. Hop on, Cedric!) Benson has been relatively quiet during his time with the Bengals, but today he joined Chicago's Waddle and Silvy show to dish Bears juice, and he did, sort of:
"Sometimes it seemed I was going against some of the same guys I was going to war with during the weekend. We were supposed to be a team trying to achieve a common goal every Sunday, and sometimes during the week — maybe even on Sunday — it seemed I was battling against my own team, from all aspects: some player, some staff ... It just didn't seem to work, whether from what I just mentioned or not getting the ball enough."
That's just part of the interview; you can read more quotes, if you're so inclined, at the Sun-Times. But from that quote alone, a pattern is emerging: Nothing is ever Cedric Benson's fault. He didn't fit in with his teammates? Clearly, his teammates must out for sabotage. The offense wasn't working? Clearly, Cedric didn't get the ball enough.
The problem is that we remember Cedric's seasons, and we remember him getting the ball, and we remember him tip-toeing to the line of scrimmage before apathetically falling forward for a yard. It could hardly be called "running." Some of that might have been the Bears' fault, sure (bad offensive line, bad playcalls, whatever). But Benson hardly did enough to acquit himself of blame for his failures on the field. In that regard, he deserves most, if not all, of the blame.
Eamonn Brennan is a writer, editor and blogger hunkered down in Lincoln Park. You can also read him at Yahoo! Sports, FanHouse, MOUTHPIECE Sports Blog, and Inside The Hall, or at his personal site, eamonnbrennan.com.