Benson Deal Should Be Forthcoming?

Bourbonnais - Cedric Benson has missed 19 days of training camp, as the Bears try to reach an agreement with their first round pick. Recent signings around the league would seem to point to Benson reaching a deal in the coming days.

The third overall pick, Braylon Edwards, signed a five-year deal with the Cleveland Browns on Wednesday. The contract is worth $18 million in guaranteed money.

Fifth pick and fellow running back Cadillac Williams inked a five-year deal with $15 million guaranteed from the Tampa Buccaneers.

Common sense would dictate that Benson will sign for something in between the two contracts, likely closer to what Edwards received. Eugene Parker is trying to get the best deal for his client and wants to work off what Philip Rivers got from the San Diego Chargers as the fourth overall pick in 2004.

However, the Bears are not willing to head down that road.

Head coach Lovie Smith has taken the opportunity to communicate to Benson through the media in recent weeks, but seemed annoyed about the topic on Wednesday.

"I'm not a part of the negotiations," Smith said. "Right now, I'm just really getting our team ready. I'm having a lot of conversations with our guys here we have in camp."

In the meantime, Thomas Jones remains the starter and will play 20-25 snaps against the St. Louis Rams.

"Normally, we play them a little bit more in the second game but we really haven't decided exactly how long," Smith said. "As we told our guys this week, you play until you're out."

Student Teacher
The young receiving corps continues to show improvement under coach Darryl Drake and coach-on-the-field Muhsin Muhammad.

The 10-year veteran has demonstrated a work ethic and attention to detail that appears to be rubbing off on his young teammates. Muhammad continues to arrive early to practice, stay late and work intelligently throughout.

"That's an everyday thing," he said. "We have to work on our routes. We have to do things correctly. The best offenses are not the most talented offenses; they're the ones that perform the assignments correctly and are in the right place at the right time."

According to Muhammad, the play of the wide receivers ties in to the performance of every other offensive group and allows teammates to trust each other.

"The quarterback's going to gain confidence in the (receivers), and the offensive linemen are going to gain confidence in the running backs when everybody is doing their assignments correctly. That's when we're going to be efficient - when we're being correct (in performing assignments)."

Injury Update
Eddie Berlin will miss time because of a groin injury he suffered on a 34-yard reception that help setup the game-winning score against the Dolphins. The severity of the injury could jeopardize his chances of making the roster. Wide receiver Bernard Berrian watched from the sidelines on Wednesday with soreness in his left fingers, but is expected to play on Friday. Fullback Keith Belton missed practice because of an ankle injury.

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