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Robert Littal
National Blogger

Robert Littal

CEO of Black Sports Online which brings the truth in sports.

He's not Cedric Benson


If I was Larry Johnson I would get on the phone immediately with Cedric Benson. When Benson was released after the 2007 season I cannot tell you one person not just in the world, but the entire universe, galaxy, Milky Way or Krypton that thought he would ever be a serviceable running back in the NFL again. He wasn't even that good when he was with the Bears. I am being kind by saying he was "average at best" and when he wasn't averaging around 3 yards per carry he was a headache in many other ways.

Benson was always a strange moody guy very similar to his idol Ricky Williams. He was not well liked in the locker room and had his share of run ins with the law. There was a real threat that Benson was more likely to be playing football with Plaxico Burress and Maurice Clarett than any NFL team.

Once Benson was able to shake free from his legal issues, the Bengals took a flyer on him in the middle of last season mainly because they are the Bengals and no one else was available. I have it on good authority that the Bengals had absolutely no expectations for him besides that he would be a warm body to throw in their backfield.

Benson shockingly played decent on an awful Bengals team last year but no one, and once again I stress no one, thought he would be able to carry that over to this season.

I am not sure what happened. Maybe Benson is sneaking behind Alex Rodriguez's back and meeting up with Kate Hudson before games. Maybe that package T.O. was expecting from Rodney Harrison made its way into Benson locker but, whatever happened, Benson has to be considered one of the five best running backs in the NFL right now (put the knife down Bears fans).

Larry Johnson's situation is not exactly the same, but there are similarities. A lot of people think he is done. He has had legal issues in the past (if you are a woman and say no to him in the club, be sure to be ready to duck). Both on and off the field he has been a bit of a malcontent. He is probably going to get one more shot and that is it. After that he will gone fishing with Freddie Mitchell.

One thing Benson had on his side was age. Benson is only 26 whereas Johnson is about to say hi to 30. No matter what LaDainian Tomlinson says, (back to your playpen LT) the majority of high usage running backs go downhill after 30.

Benson also seemed to use the fact that he was almost out of the league as motivation. I don't know if Larry Johnson has had the "man in the mirror" moment where he realizes that a lot of his wounds are self inflicted.

He will get another shot and I think where he goes will determine how successful he will be. If he goes somewhere like Washington then I will call Freddie Mitchell personally to ask him to get the "bait" ready. If he goes to a more stable franchise like New England or Pittsburgh a "Corey Dillon" outcome is more likely.

But whatever happens, LJ, please stay away from Twitter.

By Robert Littal  |  November 11, 2009; 7:54 AM ET  | Category:  Chicago Bears , Cincinnati Bengals , Kansas City Chiefs Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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