Famed running back Cedric Benson, who soared to stardom as a Texas Longhorn “legend,” died Saturday night. He was 36 years old.
Austin police said a minivan was trying to cross an intersection when it ran into a motorcycle, CNN affiliate KXAN reported. Both Benson and a woman were pronounced dead at the scene.
“Our condolences to the friends and family of former Bears running back Cedric Benson, our 4th overall Draft pick in 2005 and member of the 2006 NFC Champions team,” the Chicago Bears tweeted Sunday.
Hours before the crash, Benson posted a photo of a motorcycle on Instagram with the caption “My Saturday evening,”surrounded by hearts.
Benson rushed for over 1,000 yards in each of his four seasons at Texas and is the 9th-leading rusher in college football history, with 5,540 yards.
His 64 career rushing touchdowns are second in school history.
He won the Doak Walker Award, which is given to the nation’s top running back, after he rushed for 1,834 yards and 19 touchdowns. Benson also earned All-American honors in 2004.
“Very sad day with the passing of Longhorn Legend Cedric Benson,” the University of Texas football team tweeted. “Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends and our community of lettermen. He will be missed.”
His college coach, Mack Brown, called Benson “one of our favorites.”
“He was a true spirit — one of the toughest players we ever coached, if not the toughest,” Brown told reporters Sunday. “I, along with a lot of Longhorns, are just crushed.”
Benson also played eight years in the NFL.
He rushed for more than 1,000 yards three times while playing for three teams, finishing with 6,017 career rushing yards and 32 touchdowns.
“Cedric was a fine football player for us,” Cincinnati Bengals President Mike Brown said. “Our organization is deeply saddened by his sudden and tragic passing. The Bengals extend our deepest condolences to Cedric’s family.”
Former Bengals running backs coach Jim Anderson said he’s mourning Benson’s death.
“Once he bought into our system, he was like a flower. He just blossomed,” Anderson said. “He gave us an element we didn’t have. We had complementary guys, but Cedric gave us a missing element. He was a good man. He was one of my guys and it hurts. Life is too short.”