GREEN BAY – Cedric Benson is definitely not a training-camp body. He was not brought in to help the Green Bay Packers weather their current injury storm at the position.
General manager Ted Thompson made that abundantly clear Tuesday.
“We needed another guy to add to the group for the season,” Thompson said in his weekly training-camp media briefing. “I’m not talking about a training camp guy.
“We did a lot of work on Cedric. As you do at all positions, we were constantly watching tape. (Pro personnel director) Eliot (Wolf) and his crew were doing up evaluations and we get together as a group and watch stuff. We like what we saw with Cedric, as we went further into training camp, we realized that you can never have enough horses.
“(Running back) is a tough position to play, a tough position durability-wise to stay out there. We felt like he’d be a good addition to our group and we think he can help that group out. What that means, whether he’s the starter and all that – that will be determined down the road. We just felt like adding another quality back was good for us at this time.”
There has been some question whether Benson, out of work until officially signing with the Packers on Sunday, might simply be auditioning for the final weeks of training camp, and once James Starks (turf toe) and Brandon Saine (hamstring) recovered from their injuries, he would become expendable. That thought never crossed Benson’s mind, however.
"I hadn't necessarily looked at it like that. That could be an underlying factor but to tell you the truth I'm not worried about that at all,” Benson said. “Proving myself will be easy. I just need the football, and know where to run. I'm just looking at it as, I need to get myself acclimated with the playbook as fast as I can."
Thompson also made it clear that Benson’s four arrests, including a one-game suspension to start the 2011 season after two misdemeanor assault arrests, was not a concern.
“I don’t want to talk about Cedric’s private affairs other than to say we have had a conversation and I was comfortable with it,” Thompson said. “He understands that maybe he made some mistakes in the past and maybe he’s a little more mature and farther down the road in terms of developing in that regard. We felt comfortable after that.”
Meanwhile, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Bob McGinn reported added a very interesting tidbit about Benson’s contract. While it was widely reported that it’s a one-year, $825,000 seven-year veteran minimum contract, the Journal Sentinel reported that it’s actually a split contract, meaning Benson would only receive $393,000 if he were to suffer an injury and end up on injured reserve.
Because he received the minimum salary with no signing bonus, Benson counts only $540,000 against the Packers’ salary cap already
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