During his Sunday press conference at North Carolina, coach Mack Brown said Texas running back Cedric Benson was “one of our favorites” and called the former Longhorn one of the toughest players he’d ever coached.
“Sally and I along with a lot of Longhorns are just crushed,” Brown said in Chapel Hill, N.C. “So, sad day for a lot of people because we’re really going to miss him.”
Brown, who coached the Longhorns from 1998-2013, signed Benson from Midland Lee in 2001. Benson became the first player in UT history to rush for at least 1,000 yards in four consecutive seasons, and he won the 2004 Doak Walker Award.
Brown told the story of why he suspended Benson in 2003 prior to facing Baylor. Benson had kicked in an apartment door in South Austin while trying to retrieve a plasma TV that he claimed had been stolen.
“Somebody stole his TV once, they had it at the apartment, he knew where it was,” Brown said. “He told the police to go get it, and he said the place wouldn’t get it. So he goes and knocks a door in and goes and gets his TV.
“The police called it breaking and entering,” Brown said. “He called it getting my TV back. And I said you can’t do that. You stole the TV, and he said, ‘No, no, it was my TV.’”
Brown suspended Benson that week and wouldn’t even let the player travel to Waco and sit in the stands. Texas won 56-0. “We get back at two in the morning and Cedric Benson is standing there waiting on the bus,” Brown said. “And that’s just the kind of teammate he was.”
Brown then reflected back on the 2005 Rose Bowl against Michigan. Benson suffered a knee injury early and was hampered throughout the game. The coach saw Benson crying in the locker room after a thrilling 38-37 win.
“The doctor said, ‘You’re a first-round draft choice. Don’t play any more,’” Brown said. “And he said tape it up, I want to play. He went back in the game and played the whole game.
“After the game I see him sitting over in the corner crying, and I said Is it your knee?,” Brown continued. “And he said, ‘No, coach, this is the last time I’ll ever wear a Texas football uniform. So that’s the kind of competitor he was, that’s the kind of person he was.”
Contact Brian Davis at 512-445-3957. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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