Former NFL running back Cedric Benson died at the age of 36 after a motorcycle accident in Austin, Texas, on Saturday night.
Benson was killed when a mini-van was trying to cross an intersection and hit his motorcycle, police said. He and an unidentified woman were both pronounced dead at the scene.
Benson was drafted No. 4 overall by the Chicago Bears in 2005. He also played for the Cincinnati Bengals and Green Bay Packers. The Bears posted a tweet confirming Benson’s death on Sunday.
The Bengals also released a statement Sunday on Benson’s death and expressed their condolences to his family.
“Cedric was a fine football player for us. He played a principal role for several years here, including a couple of playoff runs,” Bengals President Mike Brown said. “He was from Texas, and he showed his Texas toughness in leading us to a Division Championship in just his second season with us.”
Former Bengals running backs coach Jim Anderson called Benson a good man and that “life is too short.”
“Once he bought into our system, he was like a flower,” Anderson said. “He just blossomed. He gave us an element we didn’t have. We had complementary guys, but Cedric gave us a missing element.”
Benson’s attorney, Sam Bassett, said Sunday that he and the former NFL player were friends and that Benson was “like a younger brother or nephew” to him.
“He was immensely talented and fierce on the football field, yet most have no idea the difficulties he overcame to achieve what he did,” Bassett said. “Though imperfect in some respects, once Cedric was your friend you understood how kind, sensitive and loyal he was as a man.”
Benson was considered one of the most prolific rushers in NCAA and University of Texas history.
Benson was one of the top high school recruits out of the West Texas town of Midland. According to Texas Football magazine, he is eighth on the career rushing list for Texas high schools. He led Midland Lee to three straight state championships, the only three in school history, from 1998-2000.
He then went on to be a key player in the Longhorns’ resurgence under coach Mack Brown. Benson played at Texas from 2001-2004 and his 5,540 yards ranks second at the university and ninth in NCAA history. He scored 64 career touchdowns with the Longhorns and won the Doak Walker award, given to the nation’s top running back, in 2004.
Benson returned to Austin after his playing career and set up a foundation, NUFCED, to aid underprivileged children and families. Those efforts included helping repair damage at the home of the first victim killed in a series of bombings in Austin early 2018.