Former Texas Longhorn Cedric Benson dies in West Austin motorcycle crash

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Two people are dead after a crash between a motorcycle and a minivan in West Austin Saturday night. One of them has been identified as former NFL and Texas Longhorns running back Cedric Benson. Benson was 36.

Benson’s attorney, Sam Bassett, told the Associated Press that Austin law enforcement informed him Benson was one of the two killed in the crash.

The crash happened around 10:30 p.m. at the intersection of FM 2222 and Mount Bonell Road. According to Austin police, a motorcycle was traveling westbound on FM 2222 when it crashed with a minivan turning from Mount Bonnell Road. 

Both passengers on the motorcycle were killed: Benson and a woman. The minivan’s occupants remained on scene and suffered minor injuries. 

Austin police say speed and poor visibility could have been a factor in the crash. The official cause is under investigation. 

Benson was one of the top high school recruits out of the West Texas town of Midland. According to Texas Football magazine, he is eighth on the career rushing list for Texas high schools. He led Midland Lee to three straight state championships, the only three in school history, from 1998-2000.

He then went on to be a key player in the Longhorns’ resurgence under coach Mack Brown. Benson played at Texas from 2001-2004 and his 5,540 yards ranks second at the university and ninth in NCAA history. He scored 64 career touchdowns with the Longhorns and won the Doak Walker award, given to the nation’s top running back, in 2004.

He was the only player in school history to rush for at least 1,000 yards in four seasons and was inducted into the school’s Hall of Honor in 2014.

“We’ve coached a lot of tough players but none were tougher than Cedric. He was a true spirit,” Brown said Sunday on Twitter.

Benson was drafted No. 4 overall by the Chicago Bears in 2005 and played eight seasons in the NFL with the Bears, Cincinnati Bengals and Green Bay Packers. He finished his career with 6,017 yards and 46 touchdowns.

Benson returned to Austin after his playing career and set up a foundation, NUFCED, to aid underprivileged children and families. Those efforts included helping repair damage at the home of the first victim killed in a series of bombings in Austin early 2018.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.