Former Patriots running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis signed with the Bengals on Thursday and he'll figure largely into their ground game in 2012. So much so, that Cedric Benson is already saying his goodbyes to the city and its fans.
Benson remains on Cincy's roster -- and history tells us The Law Firm isn't exactly surefire feature-back material -- but the longtime Bengals starter sees the writing on the wall.
"I figured that meant I probably wouldn't be going back to Cincinnati," Benson told the team's official website , after tweeting a farewell message Thursday. "There are no hard feelings. I loved my time there. I can't thank the fans enough for the way they supported me. I'm so forever grateful for the recommendation that, I think, came out of Chicago and for Marvin (Lewis) believing in me and for the Brown family for giving me a chance."
Benson is referring to the 2008 season, which started with the Bears cutting their former first-round pick before training camp after three disappointing seasons with the team. The Bengals, with a backfield in free fall, snagged Benson off the street in October of that year and he's been a centerpiece of the ground attack since.
But it's no surprise the team is moving on. Benson's consistent headache-inducing behavior off the field has tempered three straight 1,000-yard seasons. He's chronically expressed disappointment with his role in the offense, miffed about the Terrell Owens circus in 2010 and nonplussed about splitting time with Bernard Scott in Jay Gruden's offense last season.
Rather than go through the same drill with Green-Ellis, Benson -- and the Bengals -- are ready to part ways. With a number of teams looking for running back help, look for Benson to find work somewhere else in 2012.