A quick look at the rushing leaders this season has some familiar names like Adrian Peterson, Steven Jackson and Maurice Jones-Drew. One unfamiliar name in the top 10 is Cedric Benson. With 969 yards rushing so far this season, Cedric is going to pass the 1000 yard mark in rushing this year and have a chance at 10 + rushing touchdowns.
It hasn’t been a good ride for Cedric, after being drafted in 2005 by the Chicago Bears, Benson has never had over 700 yards rushing in a season. He has never rushed for more than a 63 yards per game average. This season he sits 3rd in the NFL with 96.9 yards per game. He has had 100+ yards rushing in half of the games he has played this year. He is also on a team, where if he was going to get into trouble, this was it.
Instead, he has put his ugly past behind him, and become a team player. He has re-dedicated himself to becoming an NFL elite. He has given Cincy a running game where they have floundered over the last few seasons. Of course now look at Chicago. The Bears were supposed to be the team to beat in the NFC North, instead they sit in third place, two back of the Packers, five back of the Vikings, and only 3 games ahead of the lowly Lions.
The player Benson was released for, Matt Forte, had a great rookie campaign last season (rushing for over 1200 yards and 8 touchdowns), however is struggling this season, averaging only 53 yards per game. Cincy however is flying high atop the AFC North at 9-3. They should win the division title and have a shot at a first round bye in the playoffs.
At 27 years old, Cedric has some gas left in his tank and should have another two + productive seasons left in him. From a hobby perspective, collectors gave up on him after his Chicago Bear release, however his cards are starting to rebound. Even with the solid season he is having, you can pick up a Benson autograph for between $5 – $10, the card pictured below with the autograph and the patch numbered to 32 sold for just under $24. That might seem pricey, but considering it was once fetching between $100 – $125, it is a real bargain right now. Cedric has certainly had a checkered past, but he seems to have put it behind him, and focus on bringing a championship to Cincinnati.