CINCINNATI (CINCINNATI ENQUIRER/CORPUS CHRISTI CALLER-TIMES/FOX19) - Former Cincinnati Bengals running back Cedric Benson was killed in a crash in Austin, Texas late Saturday night, the Austin Police Department confirms.
Police say Benson, 36, was driving his BMW motorcycle with a female passenger at ‘a high rate of speed’ around 10:20 p.m. when he hit a Dodge van.
The van had come to a stop at an intersection when he tried to turn left after checking for oncoming traffic.
The passenger in the van and a bystander tried to help Benson and his passenger Aamna Najam, but both were pronounced dead at the scene.
Police say the driver of the van was evaluated by EMS at the scene of the crash and refused to be taken to the hospital. He stayed at the scene and is cooperating with the investigation.
They say Benson’s family respectfully requested privacy during this time.
Posts began to circulate on social media around 8 a.m. Sunday morning of Benson’s death and Benson’s brother, Dominic, posted on social media Sunday morning, “No no no no no no God no!!! Why him man!!!!! Not Ced man.”
Another social media post had former Longhorns football coach Mack Brown also confirming the news and the Austin American Statesman confirmed it around 9:45 a.m. with family and friends.
“Our organization is deeply saddened by his sudden and tragic passing,” Bengals president Mike Brown said of Benson. "The Bengals extend our deepest condolences to Cedric’s family.”
Former Bengals running backs coach Jim Anderson said Benson brought something to the team he hadn’t seen before.
“Once he bought into our system, he was like a flower. He just blossomed,” Anderson said. "He gave us an element we didn’t have. We had complementary guys, but Cedric gave us a missing element. He was a good man. He was one of my guys and it hurts. Life is too short.”
Benson, a native of Midland, is one of the legendary players in Texas High School football history, leading Midland Lee to three straight state championships from 1998 to 2000. Benson finished his high school career rushing for 8,423 yards during his career for the Rebels.
He signed with Texas and rushed for 5,540 yards in four seasons, and later was the No. 4 overall draft pick of the Chicago Bears in the 2005 NFL Draft. Benson played eight seasons in the NFL with the Bears, Cincinnati Bengals and Green Bay Pakcers and rushed for 6,017 yards and 32 touchdowns.