Bears Welcome Benson with Open Arms

Lake Forest - Teammates went more than two months without seeing Cedric Benson, but were enthusiastic about his return to Halas Hall on Monday.

John Tait had a lengthy holdout when he was the 14th overall pick by the Kansas City Chiefs in 1999. He signed with the club three days before the start of the season and went on to appear in 12 games, including three starts as a rookie.

Tait said he felt no locker room resentment upon his arrival and expects Cedric Benson to receive the same type of treatment.

"I think you're surprised at how welcoming everybody is," Tait said. "All the horror stories that you hear, people saying how your teammates are going to resent you for it, that's really not the case, and I really don't see it being the case here with Cedric."

Muhsin Muhammad may be a bit more demanding of Benson, who received more guaranteed money ($17 million) than he signed for with the Bears as a free agent this off-season.

"Usually there's a rookie dinner with the position. But with this one I'm going to find out where the running backs are going to be and think I might show up for that," Muhammad joked.

Benson knows he's has a lot to make up for, on and off the field.

"They were more than happy to see me," Benson said of his teammates. "They were wondering when we're going to the steakhouse, actually."

Trader Jerry
General manger Jerry Angelo has been busy over the 24 hours. While signing Cedric Benson has received the bulk of the attention, he's also made trades on consecutive days.

After sending DE Alain Kashama to the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday for a conditional draft pick, the Bears acquired linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo from the Miami Dolphins for tight end John Owens and a conditional draft pick.

Ayanbadejo can add depth at both linebacker and on kick coverage.

As a Pro Bowl alternate on special teams last year, Ayanbadejo has led Miami in special teams tackles in each of the last two seasons.

The 6-1, 228-pounder played primarily on special teams in 2003, totaling 19 special teams tackles. In 2004, he started two of 16 games played and totaled 20 tackles, one interception and one pass break-up along with 23 special teams tackles.

Ayanbadejo originally entered the NFL as an undrafted free agent with the Atlanta Falcons in 1999, but the UCLA product failed to make the roster. Before signing with Miami as a free agent in 2003, he played for three teams in the Canadian Football League from 2000-02.

Owens joined the Bears midway through last season, after being claimed off waivers from the Detroit Lions. He played in two games with Chicago as a reserve tight end and on special teams. He had one reception for 12 yards in the preseason.

Team Player
Although Adrian Peterson remains No. 2 on the depth chart at running back, it seems like it will be only a matter of time before Cedric Benson is sharing carries with Thomas Jones.

Peterson has done everything the Bears have asked of him this preseason. Not only is he a special teams ace, but through four games, he's averaging 4.6 yards per carry and has scored three times.

Whether it means his touches will be reduced, the 2002 sixth round pick is prepared to help the team by any means possible.

"I'm just going to keep doing what I do," Peterson said. "If special teams is it, I'm going to continue to excel on special teams."


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