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Josh Kirkendall
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Josh Kirkendall

Lead blogger for Cincyjungle.com

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In 2008, the Cincinnati Bengals were a team that took a chance on embattled running back Cedric Benson, who was released from Chicago after multiple dealings with the law. Having seen Bengals owner Mike Brown bring troubled players into Cincinnati, it wasn't surprising to see the team take a flyer on Benson; largely because the team had no real rushing offense to speak of.

The thing about Benson's success at the end of last year and so far this year, was directly related to a strong internal desire to change. Once he was released from Chicago, it occurred to him that his career in the NFL could have ended before it even began. He hit rock bottom. But he was still young, he still had a chance. The Bengals facilitated it by signing him to a second-chance contract. Benson has honored the Bengals with a strong work ethic and surprising leadership.

Benson's change, his remarkable turnaround, comes directly from his desire to change -- hardly unique. Many players have fallen. Some stand back up, brush themselves off and do it all over again. A surprisingly few stand up, take reflection and make the changes necessary. And many just don't bother standing back up.

A guy like Larry Johnson has the talent to find a new home in this league. But if he takes responsibility, if he finds within himself a desire to change, to learn and react positively to his lessons, he could still squeeze life out of his NFL career. Follow Cedric Benson's lead, or follow everyone else through that door that leads to NFL obscurity.

By Josh Kirkendall  |  November 11, 2009; 7:55 AM ET  | Category:  Chicago Bears , Cincinnati Bengals , Kansas City Chiefs Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
Previous: He's not Cedric Benson | Next: If the team fits

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