Despite rushing for more than 1,000 yards in each of the last three season, Cedric Benson was not offered a contract to return to the Cincinnati Bengals.
But he’s coming back anyway.
Benson signed a one-year deal with the Green Bay Packers on Aug. 12, which means he will be coming to Paul Brown Stadium for Thursday’s 7 p.m. preseason game against his former team.
“It’s going to be fun, to say the least,” Benson told Green Bay reporters Sunday morning. “I’m looking forward to getting back there. I know I’ve got a lot support from the fans out there.”
Benson led the Bengals in rushing in each of the last three seasons (1,251 in 2009; 1,111 in 2010; 1,067 in 2011) and ranks fifth on the team’s career list with 4,176 yards. But he said he doesn’t hold any grudges after being released to free agency at the end of last year.
“I don’t hold nothing personally against them, but naturally you’re going to want to show up on the team that passed on you,” he said. “It will be fun to put a licking on them.”
Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis agreed that there were no hard feelings.
“Ced left here on great terms,” Lewis said. “We think nothing but very highly of Ced Benson. He did great things here. He was a good guy for our team.”
More connections: Just as Benson is getting to face his former team, so is Bengals tight end Donald Lee.
Lee played six seasons in Green Bay before being released in March 2011, just one month after helping the Packers beat the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XLV.
Lee is in his second season with the Bengals, and Lewis said his value extends beyond the 11 receptions for 115 yards he had in 2011.
“Donald has added a great example of how you practice, how you prepare,” Lewis said. “And obviously he comes here with credibility. A huge one. He carries it around in a box. That’s huge credibility when you can walk in with that Super Bowl ring. And I passed that ring around last year to show everybody what Donald had earned.”
Four other Packers have ties to Southwest Ohio. Linebacker A.J. Hawk (Centerville) , running back Brandon Saine (Piqua) and defensive tackle Jerel Worthy (Wayne) all played high school ball in the area, while tight end Tom Crabtree played collegiately at Miami.
Shipley claimed: Wide receiver Jordan Shipley, whom the Bengals waived Friday, was claimed Monday by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Shipley led all AFC rookies with 600 receiving yards and tied for the rookie lead in receptions with 52 in 2010, but he suffered a season-ending knee injury in Week 2 last year at Denver.
He was cleared to practice on July 29, just 11 months after surgery, but he still was having issues with the knee, logging just one catch for 4 yards in the preseason.
The Buccaneers were fifth on the waiver order, meaning Indianapolis, St. Louis, Minnesota and Cleveland passed on Shipley.
MVP visit: Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, last year’s Most Valuable Player, is expected to take at least a few snaps Thursday night, which will make him the first reigning MVP to face the Bengals since Peyton Manning did so in the 2010 regular season, leading the Indianapolis Colts to a 23-17 victory at Lucas Oil Stadium.
Manning also is the last reigning MVP to play at Paul Brown Stadium. He led the Colts to a 45-37 victory in 2005 after winning the second of his four awards in 2004.
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