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Former NFL RB, Texas Longhorn Cedric Benson dies at 36 in motorcycle accident

By Lorenzo Reyes




Lorenzo Reyes, USA TODAY

Cedric Benson played for the Bears, Bengals and Packers during his eight-year career. (Photo: David Kohl, AP)

Former NFL running back and Texas Longhorns star Cedric Benson died Saturday night in a motorcycle accident, Benson’s attorney, Sam Bassett, confirmed to USA TODAY Sports on Sunday in an email. Benson was 36.

Bassett said Austin law enforcement told him the news.

Earlier on Saturday, Benson had posted an image of a BMW motorcycle to his Instagram story with the caption: “MY SATURDAY EVENING” with a series of heart emojis following.

“Cedric was not just a client, he was my friend,” Bassett told the Austin American Statesman and other media outlets Sunday. “He was immensely talented and fierce on the football field yet most have no idea the difficulties he overcame to achieve what he did. Though imperfect in some respects, once Cedric was your friend you understood how kind, sensitive and loyal he was as a man. He was like a younger brother or nephew to me. I will miss him very much.”

The Austin paper also reported that a passenger on the motorcycle was killed but a name has not been released.

During his eight-year NFL career that spanned from 2005-12, Benson played with the Chicago Bears, Cincinnati Bengals, and Green Bay Packers. He compiled 1,600 carries for 6,017 yards and 32 touchdowns.

“Cedric was a fine football player for us,” Bengals president Mike Brown said in statement. “He played a principal role for several years here, including a couple of playoff runs. He was from Texas, and he showed his Texas toughness in leading us to a Division Championship in just his second season with us. His three consecutive 1000-yard seasons displayed the talent he possessed. Our organization is deeply saddened by his sudden and tragic passing. The Bengals extend our deepest condolences to Cedric’s family.”

The Bears selected Benson No. 4 overall in the 2005 NFL draft after he had a stellar run with the Longhorns.

Benson was a four-year starter with the Longhorns, where he ran the ball 1,112 times – the most in the history of the program – for 5,540 yards and 64 scores. He also caught 69 passes for 621 yards and added three more touchdowns.

His rushing yards and rushing touchdowns totals rank second in Texas history to Ricky Williams’ marks of 6,279 and 72, respectively.

Benson was the recipient of the 2004 Doak Walker Award, given to the nation’s top running back, and was also a consensus All-American in the same season. 

Benson, a native of Midland, Texas, is one of the legendary players in Texas high school football history, leading Midland Lee to three consecutive state championships from 1998 to 2000. Benson finished his high school career with 8,423 rushing yards.

Jon Parchman, who coached Benson at Midland Lee, said he heard the news after his daughter called him early Sunday morning. Benson scored 15 touchdowns in three state championship game appearances. 

“I will remember his smile, and some of the time I had to get on him or grumble on him, but the relationship passed on along after high school,” said Parchman, 70, who is retired from coaching and works in the oil business in Midland. “When he was in college, even in the NFL, we literally talked every week. We bounced ideas off each other and I felt like that he trusted me. Sometimes I didn’t tell him what he wanted to hear but that wasn’t my job. I think he appreciated that honesty.”

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