Benson is Finally a Done Deal

Lake Forest - The Bears have agreed to a five-year deal with Cedric Benson, ending his 36-day absence from training camp.

"We are happy this process has reached a conclusion and look forward to moving ahead together," said Chicago Bears General Manager Jerry Angelo.

Angelo had hinted the team would take money off the table if Benson didn't sign. After going 11-days without talks between the two sides, things seemed to take a turn on Thursday, when Benson made an unexpected visit to Halas Hall to speak with Angelo.

The Bears had offered $17 million in guaranteed money to the fourth overall pick. Benson remained as the only first round selection yet to agree to terms and his holdout is the longest of any Bear draft pick in team history.

At this point it's unclear if Benson will practice today. Even if he does suit up, at the most he would have only two days of practice before the team's final preseason game on Thursday against the Cleveland Browns. The start of the season is 14 days away and he hasn't worked with the team since June 22.

Thomas Jones has only increased his stronghold on the starting running back job. He's averaged 5.3 yards on 35 carries in the preseason. Adrian Peterson has impressed with three touchdowns and 199 yards on 46 attempts. Benson could initially begin his pro career as the third back on the depth chart.

It's unclear what kind of impact the lack of reps will have on Benson heading into the season. He carried the ball 1,112 times as a four-year starter at Texas. He finished his college career as the sixth-leading rusher in NCAA Division I-A history and the second-leading rusher in Longhorn history. In 49 games, he rushed for 5,540 yards with 64 touchdowns and caught 69 passes for 621 yards and three scores.

The five-foot-11, 220-pounder was just the fifth back in NCAA history to rush for over 1,000 yards in each of his four seasons and his 64 TDs were the third-most in NCAA history. He also set an NCAA record by scoring at least once in 37 games.

Benson will have a chance to explain his side of the story, when he meets with the media after practice on Monday.

Roster Moves
The Bears traded defensive end Alain Kashama to the Seattle Seahawks for an undisclosed future draft selection on Sunday.

The team has some tough decisions to make on the defensive line in the coming days and the move takes one less player out of the equation, while getting something in return.

Kashama originally singed with the Bears as an undrafted free agent out of the University of Michigan following the 2004 draft. He split the season between the active roster and the practice squad. He recorded one sack for Chicago during the 2005 preseason.

The team also waived wide receiver/return specialist J.J. Moses and kicker Nick Novak.

After signing with the team on Aug. 17, Moses appeared in one game with the Bears and averaged 1.5 yards on two punt returns at Indianapolis.

Novak signed with the club as an undrafted free agent after April's draft. The University of Maryland product participated in the Bears first three preseason games. He converted all three of his field goal attempts in exhibition play.


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