Chicago Sun-Times

Bears sign RB Lawrence to roster

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Did it have something to do with the weekend trouble Cedric Benson got himself in?

The Bears wouldn’t say if it did.

But the club added a running back Monday, signing Matt Lawrence, the undrafted free agent from UMass who participated in the rookie minicamp this weekend on a tryout basis.

The 6-1, 210-pounder transferred to he I-AA school from Connecticut. He started 13 games last season, rushing for 1,585 yards and 16 touchdowns. Lawrence moves well, has good quickness and showed he can be a contributor in special teams over the weekend. That brings to six the number of backs the Bears have on the roster. He joins Benson, Matt Forte, Adrian Peterson, Garrett Wolfe and P.J. Pope.

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28 Comments

As a person, I feel bad for Cedric Benson and my word that mug shot looked pathetic. But as a fan of the best team in the NFL the Chicago Bears, I think it might be time to part ways with old Ced. Its going on year four and Benson has still not established himself as the starter and his play on the field has left something to be desired. Matt Forte was brought in with a second round pick for a reason, to push Benson or start. I don't think Benson and Forte would be as good of a one two punch as people think. First off, for two runners to effectively compliment each other it is best they have different running styles and Benson and Forte are similar smash mouth between the tackles runners, only difference is Forte can block and catch. It would be best for the Bears to compliment this stlye of runner with a scat back type and the Bears have one already in Garrett Wolfe. With Fortes abilities to not only run but block and catch the ball, he will be a more effective runner for the Bears makeing the whole offense better there by makeing Garrett Wolfe more effective. The two can be a thunder and lighting type duo that Angelo probably envisioned Benson and Wolfe being when he drafted Wolfe last april, this could now be realized with Forte. Another problem with keeping Benson around is the feeling of resentment Benson will have toward Forte, this will cause locker room problems the Bears don't need, much like when Jones and Benson were together the only difference there is Jones was more of a professional than Benson and did not cause as big of problems that he could of. I just don't know how Benson will act with a younger player coming in and gunning for his job and do not want to find out. I say unload Benson, start with a clean slate, and go with Forte, Wolfe, and Peterson, I think the Bears would be better off. Also running back is one of the few position a rookie can come in and be effective and Forte seems like the type of player that should not have a problem doing so and unlike Benson a hard worker that will actually try and make the Bears a better team. As far as this Lawrence kid, if he is good throw him on the practice squad. I also wouldn't mind seeing P J Pope again, he looked good a couple pre seasons back GO BEARS!!

You know what's funny about the whole Ced Ben incident? If he were to at least have a 4.0 ypc avg, NONE of this would have been blown up the way it is. But oh no, his avg. was 3.4. Because of that, his mug shot gets posted on the front page of the Sun-times and prolly other news sources. Not just any mug shot, this one says:
Parents LOCK UP YOUR KIDZZZ!!!! This guy is a RAPIST and a MURDERER and he sells DRUGS to newborns and punches butterflies...and hell for the fun of it, he's a COMMIE!!!

No, Benson is being judged by some (of you, and media sources) based on his performance as a RB. Sickening. -mike

Then there's the criticism of Angelo for getting Benson.
As a matter of fact, some of you want Dominic Rhodes to come right in and replace Benson. Yes, the very same Dominic Rhodes who, while DUI, was doing almost 90 in a 55mph zone. Then when the cops arrested him, Rhodes got excited and peed his pants. Class act! But of course he is, he had a 4.0 ypc average last season!

I can only imagine what the "fans" would be saying if Angelo drafted Mendenhall. Not only did he get injured already, Rashard was robbed last night b/c he was out and about on Chicago's lakefront at 2 A.M. Hey, as a Chicago native, I can tell you that is a very sensible place to be at, and at a very sensible time.

Damned if ya do, damned if ya don't.

I wanted Matt Forte a long time ago, and I'm please they drafted him.

But I'm not remotely comfortable going into the season with Forte as the starter, given he hasn't accomplished anything.

And Mike is right. People are blowing this out of proportion as an excuse to get rid of him.

But this is NOT a Tank Johnson incident, and Benson is not a cancer in the looker room, as some argue. He's more like a gnat -- an annoyance that you ignore.

And I do think they can be a one-two punch, becuase they have very different running styles. Forte sets up his blockers and uses more finese, while Benson tries to decapitate anyone in his path.

In fact, few people run like Benson -- and that is his problem. But if healthy, and rotating, people will get sick of tackling him.

Lets hope this guy can prove himself.

High Sam

Matt Lawrence?? How about signing someone with a chance to make the final roster like Dominic Rhodes before he rejoins Indy and runs over the Bears again!!

Ok there are those saying that He is being judged on his talent as a running back .........good bad or indifferent.......

It really should make any difference in this matter. The Chicago Bear are oldest Teams in the NFL. George Halas and the players he put on this team in the past all had to uphold high standards on and off of the field. The Tank Johnson situation really was a joke. He should have been gone. Cedric Benson........gone........Ricky Manning....gone........
Why? BECAUSE playing in the NFL and for the Chicago Bears IS a Priveledge and honor. And anyone who disgraces the uniform, or The Chicago Bears does not belong on the field............with ANY NFL team. What are we telling the youth of America?? That you can be a thug, a punk, a drunk..........etc etc..........and STILL be a Star in the NFL?? Hmmmmmmmmm.........Michael Vick? IS HE GOING TO COME BACK WHEN HE IS DONE IN PRISON??
Common people...........talent or not.............if you cannot be a model citizen and uphole high standards and morals in the NFL or any Othe rSports League for that matter........then you DON'T belong!! PERIOD!!

Well Mike if Benson was a clean cut guy I dont think any of this talk would be so extream. I tryed to put your veiw in prospective and I dont think this much talk would be going around if it were the Bears AP. That guy has done little but enough for the Bears and is an outstanding citizen in Chicago.

For one the Bears had stuck their neck for this guy. Traded Jones thinking it would better Benson. Then when he was sucking they never benched him. Then this year they welcomed back with open arms hoping that he would recover from his injury.

Being in any pro sport being NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, NASCAR or Golf in America someone is going to look up to those guys and be their role model. So many have dreams of being so talented and wouldnt even think to do anything stupid to hurt their chances of being a pro. Well Benson seems not to care

One other thing it wouldnt be as big of a deal if Benson wasnt resisting arrest, subduded with pepper spray, refuse to put a life jacket on, dragged to the cop car and rufused to to take a breathalyzer test.

So If by now Mike Creighton Jr. you dont see the real Bears fans frustation on how this matter took place then I guess your just as clueless as Benson.


Benson is innocent until proved guilty. I am not sure how significant a ticket for drinking on board a boat with a lot of other people in a cove could be. He was not speeding or cutting off other boats or endangering lives...as I understand the account.

So what does that leave? A guy who, like most of us would, was out on a boat having a few beers and being a celebrity was accosted and may have resented being targeted. Or maybe he was obnoxious. We don't know.

He's the Bears starting running back and I don't see how this disqualifies him. Is there a clause in his contract that says he can't drink on his own boat if he is not driving it?

I don't know how good he is. But unless there is more to this than a guy being given a ticket for being slightly rippped on his own boat, then I think the Bears should decide on their estimate of his character and on how well he could run the ball if he had a line in front of him.

I personally think the guy really has talent and may only need the right circumstances to have a good year. If he could be 70% as good as he was at Texas, we could have a playoff team here this year. I am more worried about his ankle than I am about anything else.

well hell yes hes being judged! thats what we as fans do. its just like you judging us for judging him, thats what we do! i have given ced 3 years to prove to me (a fan) hes capable of being our starter, and he hasnt done it. so, im not standing behind him anymore. so move over ced for those running backs who want to be here and help our team. i still think they should bring in sean alexander to back up forte. i think SA still has a couple of really good years in him, and if he isnt the main ball runner, he'll stay healty and full of energy all season. LOOKING FORWARD TO A GREAT SEASON.....GO BEARS

Hey P. J. Pope is back! Cool! I like watching him run.

Again, this wouldn't even be an issue if we were talking about someone else (besides Rex, of course).

It's an excuse for fans to dump on a player they don't like.

But in reality, this is by far the most common type of "crime" committed by athletes.

And I do believe Benson was treated poorly to some degree.

In fact, my intial reaction to the signing was that Lawrence was more of a threat to the Little Boy Wolfe than anyone else.

Frankly, I do think they will keep four tailbacks, simply because the addition of Kellen Davis will allow them to run an H-back more instead of a FB, and because RBs generally play special teams well.

Wolfe need to demonstrate that he can actually play at the NFL level, or he's a goner -- and that's before Benson.

Benson being innocent is not the question. He may very well be innocent. The fact is that Benson should not be a Chicago Bear running back for numerous reasons not even related to this incident.
Why do you think the Bears defense took him out in a scrimmage a couple years ago? To send him a message that he never understood. That no one is bigger than the TEAM.
Benson has on numerous occassions placed his own interest above the team. Do you think that the OL is motivated to block for this guy? NO. Benson has taken himself out of some pretty big games for reasons unknown at times. Benson cannot block to protect the QB, Benson is slow and does not utilize good vision when running, he tries to run over people instead of make them miss. This is the NFl not college where you can runover people. Benson can't catch the ball consistently out of the backfield and is slow to get started when he does.
Benson has had a history that is somewhat questionable. Does Benson really belong on a team that is known for great running backs with heart like Payton, Suhey, Sayers, Anderson and Piccolo to name just a few? No he does not belong on this team, cut your losses now. Benson has had three years to prove himself, yes there were glimpses of real potential, but Benson does not show that he has the heart to make it happen.

Once again Brando you are a goof, that crap you just rattled off makes no sense as usual. Any kid looking at Benson or any other spoiled overpaid athelete needs his/her parents to get more involved and anyway that is a lame arguement. As for Dead leg Ced if you are innocent you have no reason to refuse a sobriety test or have a attitude, next to justify himself he'll play the race card, and if he is rehabbing why is he on a boat in Texas? Wasn't there a camp last weekend? you would figure he would have been somewhere near Halas Hall at this point in his rehab considering a full OTA is coming up, not on a boat with friends partying and liquor is present. NO EXCUSE, where is the commitment? Angelo it's time to move on take it like a man you messed up now move on.

Look everyone this incident is just that,an incident. Benson is a young man enjoying life, at this time the only issue here is that he was drunk and did not want to get arrested by the police. Nothing has been said about how he was handling the boat, was he creating a danger to other boaters?, why did they pull him over?, there is more to this than what we know right now. I hope Benson is healing up, I'm glad they have competition for him in Forte. But I do remember the play he got hurt on; he was running hard, gaining yards, and starting to handle his assignments. Here we have a young man, who needs to mature and understand as a pro he has responsibilities to himself and the team. I believe this can only help him understand the opportunities he has, so that he starts to take advantage of them and be a productive citizen, as well as a solid player for the BEARS.

Cedric is innocent until proven otherwise. The truth will come out. There were witnesses who will collaborate the truth. What amazes me more is the way pro athletes act when they run into the law. I'm sure if Cedric acted in a mature, calm respectful manner he would'nt be in half the trouble he is in. The first thing you learn when you get stopped by the authorities is " yes sir","no sir", " right away sir". Hasn't any of these athletes seen an episode of "Cops" ?

Cut Grossman and Orton. By the standard our front office has set, Bums that do not produce get 5-6 and who knows how many more seasons to start playing at an NFL level. If this was Briggs and it was not to long ago when he crashed his Lambo, we wouldnt say anything because Briggs is a pro bowler and rightfully so. If you want this type of treatment you have one choice: PRODUCE! When you suck IE: Benson, Grossman, you will be scrutinized for your every move and something like this is no exception. This is America and this is how American society works. Sorry Ced, its time for you to go.

I am not the biggest Ced fan but something is not right about the sobriety test. Who sober would pass such a test on a boat? Every since the superbowl when he got his clock cleaned and "injured" his knee he hasn't run the same. Sort of Eddie George getting hit by ray lewis. The bears running game will only be as good as their O-line.

I have read all of the comments here and people are talking about talent this and talent that.........producing etc etc........
The bottom line? In the old days players were expected to be model citizens and role models for the youth of America. And for the most part they were. Now adays you pick up the paper and regardless of the sport someone is in trouble for drugs, steroids, drunken behavior, assault, DUI, Rape, Sexual Assault, and the list goes on and on.......
Regardless of the skill level of ANY athlete in any sport........IF the Athlete is a punk, or a thug, etc etc then they simply do not belong in pro sports period. The pro athlete IS a major role model for Americas youth regardless if the sport is NASCAR, Golf, NBA, NFL, MKB, NHL.......etc etc. Think about it if you have kids.......is it ok for them to hear and see on the news and see in the paper............the stuff like we saw and heard with Michael Vick, Roger Clemens, Tank Johnson, Kobe Bryant, Ricky Manning, Cedric Benson and on and on? Do we want our kids to get the wrong picture about what's acceptable? Somewhere.......George Halas, Vince Lombardi, Paul Brown, and all of the long gone greats are disgusted and rollinbing in their graves. Regardless of the age of a player...........they are being paid enormous amounts of money for the privlidge to play in the pros.........and there IS usually a professional conduct code in their contract..........It's not about talent, it's not about production......it's about Class, Morals, Decency, and being a TOP role model for the fan base of Americas Youth........These guys are making Millions.........to do just that as part of their contract. The Pros ARE a privelidge and if a person cannot uphold the standards that are expected of them.......regardless of talent then they need to be gone..........it's called not meeting expectations

Michael thank you for elaborating on my earlier post.

Michael, Brando...sheesh, um, I don't know how to put this in simpler terms but let's try again: Benson was accused, he wasn't convicted and right now no one knows what really happened. Comparing Benson to Mike Vick makes zero sense. One was convicted, the other wasn't. I agree with you that pro-athletes should try and act as models for the youth, but once again: Benson wasn't convicted...whole thing is in the air.

Perhaps it would do you two better to preach on a Rams blog. Surely you know of Leonard Little, DE for the Rams. His drunken escapades ended in the death of a woman. And then he got caught for DUI again after that. He's still tapping his heels together in the NFL.

Again, the facts of Benson are not out yet. He has been accused. (ad nauseam)

Michael, Brando...sheesh, um, I don't know how to put this in simpler terms but let's try again: Benson was accused, he wasn't convicted and right now no one knows what really happened. Comparing Benson to Mike Vick makes zero sense. One was convicted, the other wasn't. Vick also was kinda involved in a felony charge. I agree with you that pro-athletes should try and act as models for the youth, but once again: Benson wasn't convicted...whole thing is in the air.

Perhaps it would do you two better to preach on a Rams blog. Surely you know of Leonard Little, DE for the Rams. His drunken escapades ended in the death of a woman. And then he got caught for DUI again after that. He's still tapping his heels together in the NFL.

Again, the facts of Benson are not out yet. He has been accused only. (ad nauseam)

Mike who would you believe in this situation?

I believe that Benson was Disorderly.

Come on now there was plenty of witness and all Im sure is being told to keep their mouths shut.

If not wouldnt you, Mike, think one of them would have spoke out on the situation to HELP Benson case. Wouldnt you think the Media would eat up a chance to interview at least one of the people on board???

Mike face it it doesnt look good for Benson at all.

The only time Im worrie about a team other than the Bears is, who the Bears play and their division rivals. Have to win the North to land a playoff spot!

Im can care less about another teams problems even though it can be interestin. I focus on the Bears and try to get a sence on what they are trying to do.

If you guys would read some of the other stories about this incident, You would know that one woman on the boat has corroborated Benson's story. She said that she called her father from the boat and told him to call 911 Because one of her "black friends " were getting roughed up by the boat police. I'm sure "yes sir and no sir" works with certain demographics, but it doesn't work too well for black men in the south. There are misdemeanors people. GET A GRIP!

Once again let me try to explain to Brando now another bleeding heart who has no clue. You are once again not in the world of the living, since when does a rich American look out for or care about being a role model? they are few and far between, and that is not the real problem. Any parent who depends on someone else to be a role model for their child is lazy. No individual should be held accountable for yours should be you, not some overpaid entertainer/athelete you hold them to a standard they donot want and will not accept. Benson's legal issues should not be confused with his team issues, just becausehe is a subpar player does not make him a criminal I simply made the statement his behavior gave the Bears a way out of saying they (Angelo) was wrong from the beginning (i.e. smokescreen).

Hey DJSSR you make a very valid point.Ones that should not be argued.

Im not going to disagree at all because I do agree parents should have the biggest influnces on their child or children.

I am in the world of living DJ. There are so many single parents, parents that are to worried about work then their children, and then there are deadbeats parents for one reason or another.
It very sad that those thing happen in America today, but it does.

So what do most young children do..... Turn to something that has a big influence on their lives. Some children idolizes sports stars others idolize actors exc and so on....

It stinks that kids do look up to some of the Stupidstars insted of looking up to Classact Superstars.

yeah but give rex 5 years to prove himself, fact is benson had averaged 4 yrds per carry before this season, AP averaged 5 per carry before this season, both of them averaged a measly 3.4 this year (with a bad offensive line) dont you people get it, hell garret wolfe averaged like 2.0 per carry. key is no o-line to block. do you get it yet, if theres no line nobody can run for a damn, its not hard to figure out, rex has no line, guess what he'll suck it up.

I agree with you djssr that parents ARE responsible for their own children, if you look at the NFL and NBA and MLB.........the trend has been for the owners to IGNORE issues when signing players in the first place. The Bear signe Benson even though he had legal trouble in college, again............it is a trend in ALL sports to ignore legal issues of top athletes and sign them up for the "good of the team" i.e. TALENT, TICKETS,= MONEY..........
Maybe because I am 'Old School" (55 years old) But I personally STILL believe that it IS a Privelidge to play or perform in any Pro Sport and the expectations are that they perform not only on the field but OFF the field..........anybody remember Chris Zorich and his fundraising and Turkey Giveaways?? These guys who mostly are punks, thugs, ignorant, etc......should not be in any pro sport......I would never have signed benson in the first place. When you sign thugs and punks and the like...............it means that these guys have flawed character.........and if a guy has a flawed character are you gonna be able to count on them when needed most on the field of play? NO becuase with a flawed character comes "No Heart". And last but not leat in the REAL working world, regardless of your talent or skill if you do not meet expecations and the companies rules of conduct then it's realy simple.........you are gone. Guilty until proven innocent?? Give the man a break?? Yes for the courts of law, but for the Pro Athlete?? If you are not a model citizen, exemplary citizen, and a leader in the community that gives back, then you DO NOT belong in Pro Sports making big bucks. The pros need to break the trend. Sign the guys with heart, character and desire. Quit the reclamation projects and the "He can be saved" deals. These guys make more in a year ot two of playing them most people make in a Frigging LIFETIME!! Do they deserve a break because of cvharacter flaws and stupidity? HELL NO..........

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This page contains a single entry by Brad Biggs published on May 5, 2008 4:26 PM.

Cutting Benson would create no savings for Bears was the previous entry in this blog.

UPDATED 3:23: Benson absent from voluntary workout program Tuesday is the next entry in this blog.

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