Cedric Benson spent all week trying to keep his emotions in check for Sunday’s game against the Chicago Bears. But after gaining a career-high 189 yards against the team that made him the No. 4 overall pick in 2005, the Cincinnati Bengals running back said the performance meant a lot to him.

Cedric Benson spent all week trying to keep his emotions in check for Sunday’s game against the Chicago Bears.

But after gaining a career-high 189 yards against the team that made him the No. 4 overall pick in 2005, the Cincinnati Bengals running back said the performance meant a lot to him.

“I thought the slate was wiped clean, but it really wasn’t and there were some things I wanted to prove today,” Benson said. “I think I did that.”

Benson continued to prove Sunday that the Bears weren’t wrong in making him such a high draft choice. He topped 100 yards for the sixth time with the Bengals — after breaking 100 yards in a game just twice in 35 games for Chicago. He has topped 100 yards in five of his last nine games. The Bears have had just one 100-yard rushing game by a back in its past nine games.

After the game, Benson spent several minutes on the field talking to his former teammates.
“I played three years with those guys and spent time with a lot of them,” Benson said. “I think in a way a lot of guys were happy for me.”

Benson was released after two alcohol-related arrests in the summer of 2008. Charges were later dropped in both cases.

One person Benson missed was coach Lovie Smith, who left the field after shaking hands with Bengals coach, Marvin Lewis.

“I wanted to thank Lovie just for getting me there — for picking me at No. 4,” Benson said. “Not everything went the way I would have loved for it to go, but that brought me to where I am today. I have no regrets, and Lovie was a major reason for getting me to Cincinnati.”

Smith said he wasn’t snubbing Benson.

“This was a business trip — not a family reunion.”

And he complimented his performance.

“(Benson) played well, and he’s been playing well all year. He ran hard today from start to finish.”

Benson’s outburst pushed him back into the lead in the NFL rushing race with 720 yards to 687 yards for Minnesota’s Adrian Peterson. Benson already has more yards this year than he did in any of his three seasons in Chicago and is just 27 yards of shy of his career high, set last season with Cincinnati in just 12 games.

Benson said he believes he has silenced most of those who doubted his ability and doesn’t care if there are a few left.

“Doubters are fun. They always give an extra edge. They add kerosene to your fire,” Benson said. “I’d hate to get rid of all the doubters.”

Reporter Alex Gary may be reached at agary@rrstar.com or at 815-987-1339.