Former Texas standout and No. 4 overall draft pick Cedric Benson died Saturday night after he was in a motorcycle accident, according to multiple reports. He was 36.
NFL reporter Don Kleiman states he saw Benson’s brother post about the reported accident. The accident occurred in Austin, Texas, where Benson’s motorcycle collided with a minivan. Another person on the motorcycle died and two were injured in the accident. CBS Austin reported that a vehicle and person were on fire.
Benson was a standout at Texas, where he was a four-year starter. During his senior year in 2004, he received the Doak Walker Award as the nation’s top running back and was recognized as a consensus All-American.
He finished as the sixth-leading rusher in NCAA history with 5,540 rushing yards, and the second-leading rusher in Texas history, trailing only Ricky Williams.
Benson was selected fourth overall in the 2005 NFL Draft by the Bears. However, his time in the NFL started off dramatically, with Benson holding out from Chicago’s training camp over his contract.
He eventually signed with the team, but his time in Chicago was cut short after multiple DUIs. He was released from the team in July 2008 after his second DUI-related incident in five weeks.
Grand juries declined to charge him in the 2008 cases, though it led to the Bears cutting ties with him.
Benson joined the Bengals in September 2008 and posted 932 all-purpose yards that season.
He had an even better 2009 season, when he rushed for 1,251 yards and set a Bengals franchise record with six games of more than 100 rushing yards. He followed that with 1,111 yards in 2010 and 1,067 yards in 2011.
The Bengals declined to extend Benson in 2012, which prompted him to sign with the Packers, but his season was cut short in October after he suffered a foot injury. He retired after the season, finishing his NFL career with 6,850 yards from scrimmage and 33 touchdowns.
Two days before his death, Benson was in a Travis County (Texas) courtroom, where he pled guilty to misdemeanor drunk-driving charges that stemmed from a February 2017 DUI arrest.