Column: Only a rookie

By John Gluskin

There were 32 players selected in April’s NFL Draft. Thirty-one are already playing with their respective teams. One is holding out – our own Chicago Bears’ Cedric Benson.

Go figure.

As if things aren’t bad enough for the Bears with quarterback Rex Grossman potentially out for the season with a broken ankle.

Of all the absurd things that athletes say and do, rookies holding out might be the most obnoxious.

When you’re a rookie and you’ve never played a down in the NFL, what gives you the right to complain that you deserve more money?

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The common trend this offseason has been players holding out, whining that they should get more money. Holding out is pathetic in itself, but if you’re going to do it, at least make a legitimate case.

San Diego Chargers tight end Antonio Gates ended his holdout last Sunday, signing a one-year deal and soon thereafter replacing it with a six-year deal.

Gates set the record last year for most touchdowns by a tight end, was an All-Pro and wanted the money that top tight ends earn, more than the $380,000 he was slated to receive. At least there’s an argument.Everyone knows about Terrell Owens. Albeit he’s a narcissistic tool, he has a strong argument that he deserves more money, when he’s not even paid with the best wide receivers.

When you catch 77 balls for 1200 yards and 14 touchdowns and lead your team to the Super Bowl, wanting to be paid like the best isn’t an unfair claim.

Now let’s look at Cedric Benson’s NFL numbers. Zero carries. Zero yards. Zero touchdowns.

Benson wasn’t guaranteed the starting job coming into the season.

You’d think he would have been motivated to hustle into camp, bust his rear-end to impress coaches and move up to No. 1 on the depth chart over incumbent Thomas Jones.

You’d think he’d want to get on the good side of Bear fans and the harsh Chicago media.

At this point, neither the Bears nor anyone else cares that he piled up over 1800 yards on the ground at Texas last year and scored 20 touchdowns. Those are outstanding numbers, but – that was in college.

The world of the NFL is about ‘what have you done for me lately?’. What has Benson done for the Bears and the NFL?


It’s a whole new ballgame now. Benson’s got to play with the big boys.If Benson is holding out because he’s simply trying to prolong the pain and suffering that will be his season taking handoffs from the three-headed monster of Chad Hutchinson, Jeff Blake and Kyle Orton, then fine, I can understand that.

I couldn’t really blame him because if it were me, I wouldn’t want 11 guys lined up targeting their whole defense on me, knowing the Bears passing game will be anemic at best.But from what it seems, like everything else in sports, it’s about the money.

There’s no doubt Benson deserves the money that the No. 4 pick should get, but it’s also apparent the Bears aren’t willing to pay that money and aren’t going to give in anytime soon.

Benson needs to lose the big man on campus attitude, sign a contract and help his team be successful.

Once he rushes for 100 yards or runs for a game-winning touchdown – and does this for an entire season – then he at least can make an argument he deserves more money.

He needs to put on his helmet and shoulder pads and play with a chip on his shoulder.

Prove yourself.

Jon Gluskin is a senior in communications. He can be reached at [email protected].