Disappearing Act

Lake Forest - When the Bears drafted Cedric Benson there were comparisons to Ricky Williams and concerns about his maturity. However, it appears a veteran on the roster may be the one in need of an attitude adjustment.

Thomas Jones did his best to avoid the flock of reporters trying to track him down over the weekend. On more than one occasion he ran off the practice field in order to avoid talking to the media.

The obvious line of questioning would have been the Bears decision to use the fourth pick in the draft on RB Cedric Benson.

However, instead of taking the subject head on Jones decided he would take the hide and seek approach.

It seems history is repeating for Jones, which is may be part of the reason for his hesitance. The former first round pick faced a similar situation in Arizona. After being selected seventh overall in the 2000 draft, he had to share the ball with Michael Pittman.

After three seasons with the Cardinals, Jones was traded to Tampa Bay and again had to split time with Pittman.

Jones came to Chicago looking for a fresh start. Upon signing a four-year $10 million deal with the Bears, he was immediately named the starter. He started 13 games last season and led the team in rushing, receptions and touchdowns.

A year later, he finds himself fighting for his job.

For now Jones remains atop the depth chart, but it seems inevitable that Benson will supplant him as the starter.

Still there is room for Jones and Benson on the same team. They're completely different backs, which will allow offensive coordinator Ron Turner to use them in spots that best fit their skills sets.

"Our preference right now is to really have two good running backs that we feel real good about and it's no more than that right now," said head coach Lovie Smith. "We're going to let the guys compete. Let them both and really all the running backs get their carries and really go from there."

The Bears could have a problem on their hands if Jones can't accept a supporting role. Something Anthony Thomas struggled with all of last year. The difference is that Jones has three years left on his contract, while Thomas was playing out the final year of his rookie deal.


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