BEVO BEAT Football

Earl Campbell on Cedric Benson’s passing: ‘Life after pro sports is the hardest’

Posted August 20th, 2019

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In this week’s Golden’s Nuggets, Ced touches on a Bevo-related item. Here is his take:

When discussing the top running backs in Texas football history, the line starts behind Earl Campbell and Ricky Williams.

The late Cedric Benson put up 5,540 rushing yards in his career, behind Williams’ 6,279 and ahead of Campbell’s 4,443. In my book, Benson, Jamaal Charles and Roosevelt Leaks — whose Heisman campaign was severely limited by a shredded knee the spring of his senior year — lead that first crew of backs behind Campbell and Williams.

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Earl was in the stands at Royal-Memorial Stadium on Dec. 16, 2000 to see his son Christian and his Westlake teammates take on Benson and favored Midland Lee. Benson was an unstoppable freight train that day, running for 248 yards and five touchdowns in Lee’s 33-21 win. It capped off a spectacular career for Benson, who scored 15 touchdowns in three state-championship game appearances.

He not only got the attention of the 30,000 in attendance, but also of the greatest power back to ever carry a football.

“I had heard about Benson, but never saw him in person until (the Westlake game),” Campbell recalled. “He was a phenomenal high school talent. At UT, I’m not sure if people realized what they were watching. To me, he was a little Priest (Holmes), a little (Williams) because he had good vision, hands out of the backfield, could run and was tough.”

Campbell said he was shaken by the news of Benson’s death in a motorcycle accident Saturday night. He understands that learning to adjust to life without playing the game doesn’t come with a set of directions.

“Life after pro sports is the hardest,” he said. “You’ve done well financially, but there is a lot of idle time. You do a lot of searching. it’s sad to see him gone so young.”

For the rest of Cedric’s Nuggets, including his thoughts on Ezekiel Elliott’s hold out, Jay-Z’s comments to NFL players, click here.

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