AUSTIN, Texas — Former Chicago Bears and Texas running back Cedric Benson, one of the most prolific rushers in NCAA and University of Texas history, has died in a motorcycle accident in Texas. He was 36.
Benson's attorney, Sam Bassett, says Austin law enforcement told him that Benson was killed in a motorcycle accident Saturday night.
Benson’s passenger was also reportedly killed and two others were injured, according to the Chicago Tribune.
One of the top high school recruits in the country out of Midland, Texas, Benson was a key player in the Longhorns' resurgence under former coach Mack Brown. Benson played at Texas from 2001-2004. He won the Doak Walker award given to the nation's top running back in 2004.
Benson was drafted No. 4 overall by the Chicago Bears in 2005.
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His Bears career started from behind as he missed the first 36 days of training camp — and all of preseason — in a contract stalemate. When Benson finally arrived, that put him further behind for a team that went on to win the division. Jones rushed for 1,335 yards that season and that only entrenched his status as the starter heading into 2006.
Benson suffered an elbow injury in training camp in 2006, something he thought was the result of an overzealous defender. He was able to get more time in the backfield with Jones as the Bears marched to Super Bowl XLI.
He was named the starter in 2007 and started 11 games, rushing for 674 yards before a season-ending ankle injury. The Bears drafted Matt Forte the next spring and wound up releasing Benson after his second alcohol-related arrest in five weeks.
Benson was able to fit in with the Bengals and he went on to post three consecutive 1,000-yard seasons with the Bengals.
Benson went on to play eight seasons in the NFL, finishing with the Packers in 2012 when he suffered a foot injury. His best season came in 2009 when he rushed for 1,251 yards for the Bengals, with his best game coming against his former team.