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Glimmer of hope in Benson holdout...

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From the Chicago Tribune

 

Upturn in Benson situation

Holdout meets with Angelo to clear air

 

By K.C. Johnson

Tribune staff reporter

 

August 25, 2005, 11:08 PM CDT

 

 

Acting more like someone who is hungry to play than someone content to hold out, Cedric Benson surprised the Bears on Thursday by walking into Halas Hall and meeting with general manager Jerry Angelo.

 

The breakthrough, on the 33rd day of the contract impasse, ended 11 days of silence after Benson's camp failed to respond to the Bears' deadline to take or leave a final five-year offer guaranteeing roughly $17 million.

 

 

It also, at least in part, answered questions about Benson's desire to play this season and to do so with the Bears, who made the running back the fourth pick in April's draft.

 

As of late Thursday, Benson still hadn't signed. But the meeting was described as a positive development and replaced pessimism with guarded optimism that a deal could be reached in time for Benson to play in the Sept. 11 season opener in Washington.

 

Benson is expected to instruct his agent, Eugene Parker, to keep the lines of communication open on Friday, the same day the running back will miss the home exhibition opener against Buffalo and his fourth game overall.

 

According to someone familiar with the content of the meeting, no negotiation took place. Benson merely wanted to re-establish his relationship and clear the air with Angelo, stress that he's in shape from workouts in Austin, Texas, and make clear his desire to play this season.

 

The meeting lasted approximately 45 minutes. Benson, accompanied to Halas Hall by Brian Peters, his agent from his minor-league baseball days and still an adviser, didn't meet with team President Ted Phillips, coach Lovie Smith or contract negotiator Cliff Stein.

 

The meeting marked Benson's first face-to-face contact with Bears management since off-season workouts ended in June.

 

The Bears have yet to follow through on Angelo's hint from last week that their final offer may be reduced. Now that Benson has taken the initiative to break his silence, that stance might not be enforced, which might have been another motive for Benson's visit.

 

The meeting went a long way toward easing some of the frustrations that had been building for Bears management, which had had little communication with its draft pick in recent weeks. Benson is the NFL's only unsigned first-round pick.

 

With just 11 practice days between now and the season opener, both the Bears and Benson understand the importance of reaching a deal as soon as possible.

 

No matter how much he has worked out, players and coaches have stressed the need for Benson to get into game shape and take hits. The Bears' final exhibition game is Thursday against Cleveland at Soldier Field.

 

Despite No. 3 pick Braylon Edwards and No. 5 pick Cadillac Williams signing long ago to create a salary slot for Benson, talks had stalled for a variety of reasons. The biggest was the desire from Benson's camp to come closer to Edwards' guaranteed figure of $18.5 million than Williams' guarantee of $15.1 million.

 

The fact that Benson fell one pick behind Edwards' inordinately lucrative deal this year and in the same draft spot as 2004 pick San Diego quarterback Philip Rivers—who also got a better deal than higher picks—further complicated matters.

 

Angelo's strongly worded statement from Aug. 18 squarely put the onus on Benson to sign and pushed public sentiment against him. If a deal is reached, this meeting could be a way for the Bears to look like they won the contract stalemate while also putting a positive spin on Benson taking the initiative to meet, helping the rookie in public opinion polls.

Benson was in town to put the Lake County home he purchased shortly after being drafted on the market.

 

kcjohnson@tribune.com

 

 

This situation may still have a chance to turn back from becoming very ugly but at this late date, Benson has to have harmed the public opinion of him and likely set himself back at least for a while to what this season could have been.

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If he signed today what game into the regular season would he possibly start. I would guess week 6-8, that's tough to wait that long.

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If he signed today what game into the regular season would he possibly start. I would guess week 6-8, that's tough to wait that long.

 

948820[/snapback]

 

 

 

 

 

Maybe 4-6.

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Bye week 4, so week 5 against Dallas.

 

Maybe they'll get this thing straightened out, he can actually get some reps in the final preseason game, and then my 8th round pick on him won't look so bad.

 

I was surprised in other Yahoo leagues to see people already dropping him before this thing really plays out.

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If he actually signed within this next week, you would likely see him in week one - just not as a full-time back. There is no way he can learn the blocking duties and get into the flow of playing the game immediately. Actually, if he signs next week, it just lowers what Jones would be able to do for the first month and then almost certainly Benson would take the bulk of all rushing duties after a few weeks.

 

All speculation at this point, but there is no reason why he cannot play at least some pretty early. He just cannot be the complete back he could have been.

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Yeah, if I drafted him I would certainly let it play out.

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Saw this over at xpert sports:

 

Read Full Article at http://www.suntimes.com

 

A day after reports confirmed that Bears 1st round draft pick Cedric Benson met with the team's GM, Benson put the house he just bought in Chicago back on the market, and sent two of his cars back to his home in Texas.

 

Barring a dramatic change in the Bears stance, it looks like Thomas Jones will be the team's starting running back on opening day, although team sources say that Benson would really like to play this season.

 

We'll see how this plays out over the next few days, but I'm bumping TJ up on my draft sheet a lil more...

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I would say if he signs this week like people are saying, he is still gonna see action week 1. The moment he breaks out for that gamebreaking play of performance that makes the bears fans shout for more, Lovie Smith will pound away with him. If that doesn't happen, week 5 against Dallas makes sense.

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According to someone familiar with the content of the meeting, no negotiation took place. Benson merely wanted to re-establish his relationship and clear the air with Angelo, stress that he's in shape from workouts in Austin, Texas, and make clear his desire to play this season.

 

What do they mean no negotiation took place?!!! What did they do? Have tea? 'How's the wife and my kids?' ??!!!!!

 

Oh, he stressed that he's in shape and working out. :D He must have took his shirt off and flexed for 45 minutes.

 

 

 

:D:D:D:D:D:D

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Saw this over at xpert sports:

We'll see how this plays out over the next few days, but I'm bumping TJ up on my draft sheet a lil more...

 

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That seems like a mixed up timeline. I've heard about the house for sale before he met with the Bears yesterday.

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That seems like a mixed up timeline.  I've heard about the house for sale before he met with the Bears yesterday.

 

949080[/snapback]

 

 

 

80% of the people logged in yesterday heard the same thing.

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In 1999, Edgerrin James missed the Colts first two (of four) pre-season games. He signed just a day or two before their third game at New Orleans. He rushed for 2 TD's in that pre-season game, played in the last pre-season game, and started the season as the #1 RB for the Colts. He took every carry, and rushed for 112 yards and a TD vs. the Bills. Of course, the Colts really didn't have any other options. My point is, it could be much sooner than some of you are thinking.

Edited by CaptainHook

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I think they'd split carries until the bye week about 50/50 and then let Benson take over after the bye....

 

but if something happens to Benson down the stretch...Jones will light it up like alot of backs do when rested down the stretch...

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if jones plays well the first couple of weeks I dont see then switching to benson, jones has to play bad, its his job to loose.

 

i can just week week 5 five for my bears with a rookie QB and a rookie RB... :D

Edited by whitem0nkey

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In 1999, Edgerrin James missed the Colts first two (of four) pre-season games.  He signed just a day or two before their third game at New Orleans.  He rushed for 2 TD's in that pre-season game, played in the last pre-season game, and started the season as the #1 RB for the Colts.  He took every carry, and rushed for 112 yards and a TD vs. the Bills.  Of course, the Colts really didn't have any other options.  My point is, it could be much sooner than some of you are thinking.

 

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my fingers and toes are crossed... :D

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If he actually signed within this next week, you would likely see him in week one - just not as a full-time back. There is no way he can learn the blocking duties and get into the flow of playing the game immediately. Actually, if he signs next week, it just lowers what Jones would be able to do for the first month and then almost certainly Benson would take the bulk of all rushing duties after a few weeks.

 

All speculation at this point, but there is no reason why he cannot play at least some pretty early. He just cannot be the complete back he could have been.

 

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This is exactly why I avoided both of them in my draft last weekend. Benson won't play significantly until after the bye... at the earliest. Jones will probably be worthless as a fantasy starter by Week 10.

 

In 1999, Edgerrin James missed the Colts first two (of four) pre-season games.  He signed just a day or two before their third game at New Orleans.  He rushed for 2 TD's in that pre-season game, played in the last pre-season game, and started the season as the #1 RB for the Colts.  He took every carry, and rushed for 112 yards and a TD vs. the Bills.  Of course, the Colts really didn't have any other options.  My point is, it could be much sooner than some of you are thinking.

 

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The fact that the Colts had nothing behind Edge was likely a big part of that. Back in '01, A-Train wasn't the primary ball-carrier until something like Week 5. The Bears were more than happy to play James Allen in the featured role for the first month or so. Given that Jones is a much better rusher than Allen was and is a great receving back (Benson is not), they're not going to throw Benson in there ASAP. In fact, I'd expect to see Jones on A LOT of third down situations throughout the season. Assuming he signs within the next couple of weeks, Benson will be the primary ball-carrier by Week 10. But given that Jones will still cut into his numbers later on and that the Bears offense will likely be terrible again, I don't see Benson being a solid fantasy starter this season.

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Bear fan here. Benson WILL NOT START opening day, no way no how, no matter what happens.

 

Opening day in DC will be Thomas Jones. That's a pretty stoudt defense, so I'd go w/ another option although TJ may get some passes tossed his way.

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if jones plays well the first couple of weeks I dont see then switching to benson, jones has to play bad, its his job to loose.

 

i can just week week 5 five for my bears with a rookie QB and a rookie RB... :D

 

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But Jones is a slashing type runner and Benson is a between the tackles type runner. Turner's offense features the Beson type. If Benson gets in there on plays hear and there and lights it up, Jones will see less and less playing time.

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giggidy giggidy gig a dee

7th round pick may just pan out for me...

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