Wednesday, August 23, 2006

One Dumb Dude

"I had a couple good runs last year. Shit, maybe even three. What do people expect?"

Yesterday morning I wrote a semi-rant bemoaning the fact that neither Thomas Jones nor Cedric Benson have been in camp much yet both love to talk about how they should be the starting running back. Only a few hours later news broke about Benson's latest brain fart. Apparently, he left the sideline early during Friday's win over the Chargers and watched the remainder of the game from somewhere in the bowels of Soldier Field.

To make matters worse, certain unnamed teammates were the ones to bring Benson's indiscretion to light. Oh, but not by going to the coaching staff. No, that would have made sense. They went to the press and tattled.

Benson in turn responded by claiming his feelings were hurt. How could someone tattle on him? How, oh, how? He can't trust people. He's a victim. Blah, blah, blah. This is not the first time Benson has spoke of feeling unloved by his teammates. Poor guy.

It just keeps getting better with Benson. More and more it's beginning to look like he's well on his way to joining Rashaan Salaam and Curtis Enis in the annals of colossal first round running back busts in Bears history, not to mention becoming the latest in a growing line of first round mistakes by GM Jerry Angelo. Four words instantly come to mind when I think of Benson:

Just. Doesn't. Get. It.

How does Benson not recognize that you just don't leave the sideline early? As he was walking toward the tunnel, how does his inner voice not say something like, "Uh, maybe I should wait until the game is over"? How does he not recognize that when you do things like hold out, skip training camp, yap on and on about being the starter even though you've done absolutely nothing in the NFL, and leave the sideline while a game is still underway, then, yeah, your teammates might not have the highest opinion of you? Hell, someone should tell Cedric that it's not only his teammates that don't think highly of him. They're just the first in line...and that line is growing by the day.

I fear we may just be hitting the tip of the iceberg with this clueless wonder. Perhaps I'm overreacting or bracing for the worst, but this may be only the beginning of one of the sadder stories to come through the Chicago sports scene. This Benson gem is from just yesterday:

"I think the preseason is pretty cool stuff because it's like you've got games that don't even really count and it gives you a chance to crispin' out your skills, just smoothin' out the rough edge. But I didn't play in preseason games last year, and I had a couple good (regular-season) runs."

Yeah, because that's why you were the fourth overall pick in the draft - for a "couple good runs."

Furthermore, incidents such as this continue to make one wonder what sort of ship Lovie Smith is running. Four arrests during the offseason. Dudes leaving the sideline early. Dudes running to the press to tattle on one another. It all seems a bit chaotic and unprofessional, no? Granted, Lovie gets a whole lot of benefit of the doubt after last year's NFC North title, but somebody had to win the worst division in the NFL. At times it's difficult to tell if Lovie's laid-back, quiet manner is the sign of a guy above the fray or a guy who is too mellow to maintain complete control.

Moments after Benson was drafted he cried on national television during his interview. It was difficult to tell if it was a beautiful moment with a guy who had finally realized his dream, or the first sign of a dude with some mental and emotional problems and possible prone to cracking. More and more, it's looking like the latter. Something just seems a bit off with the guy. It's like he's not all there, or a bit dense. He just doesn't get it. He seems to have an inability to get along with others or keep himself out of these ugly situations. It's like he has some innate tendency to hurt himself. Maybe I'm looking too much into this, but it's becoming more and more worrisome.

Of course, if Benson runs for 1,500 yards I'll take it all back.


Anonymous jerloma said...

That last line is the most poignant thing you wrote. So true. I came to the conclusion a long time ago that I just don't like professional athletes. Benson is so much more the norm unfortunately. Just root for the uniform and don't worry about who's a douchebag or isn't. Just assume they all are. For every Ricky Proehl there are 25 Cedric Bensons.

8:43 AM  
Blogger UnknownColumn said...


Jerloma, you're absolutely right. I remember a few years ago I was really down on the NBA. It seemed like it was overrun with thugs and criminals and dudes who loafed and, basically, a bunch of dudes I just didn't like. It's improved in recent years, but it was bad for a while and my interest definitely waned.

I think I'm seeing the same thing in the NFL these days. Almost everyday some player is getting arrested for assualt or drugs or something. I've been following this preseason and a few times it just hit me and I said to myself, "Damn, for some reason I just don't seem to be into this as much as before."

Maybe I'm just whining, but it's hard to be into something when you just don't like the dudes playing. Or at least a good handful of them.

But like I said, if Benson runs for 1,500 yards all will be forgotten.

9:42 AM  
Anonymous jerloma said...

Exactly. I think Big Ben's kind of an arrogant prick but at the same time I'd probably lather him up with baby oil of the situation presented itself.

11:39 AM  
Blogger UnknownColumn said...


Yeah, I guess a Super Bowl win will do that to a fella.

(But Big Ben's latest hottie girlfriend is somehow involved in this scenario, right?)

11:46 AM  
Anonymous jerloma said...

Ummm...yeah...of course.

1:42 PM  

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