On Thursday, the Browns linebacker recalled his medical scare last week when he collapsed in Cleveland's locker room as he and his teammates were dressing for practice. Benard, who was sitting in front of his locker when he fainted, was briefly hospitalized.
"It was stress related," Benard said. "I've got a lot going on personally. I've just got to take care of my body better with the things that are going on."
Benard underwent a battery of tests and said doctors have ruled out any heart problems or other major medical condition. He was cleared to play last Sunday, three days after the fainting episode, but wasn't around in the locker room after Cleveland's 26-20 overtime loss to the New York Jets.
His absence raised concerns the likable 25-year-old had fallen ill again. That wasn't the case.
"Nothing happened," he said. "I had a baby, that's where I rushed off to."
Benard's son, Ashai Sharoz, which he said means "a special gift" in Muslim, was born Monday.
"He's healthy," said Benard, who made Cleveland's roster last season as an undrafted free agent. "He's big. He kind of fought the doctors when he came out. He's got some good hands on him."
Benard said the child's impending birth was part of the stress that led to his collapse, which happened at the end of the 45-minute period the locker room is open to media members.
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"That's life," Benard said. "Life is hard. If life was easy, everyone would be rich and smiling all the time. It's definitely tough, but that's what comes with having a family and playing this game."
Benard, who played at Jackson State, apologized to those who witnessed him fall to the carpeted floor before being taken away by ambulance.
"Sorry to scare everybody like that," he said.
When Benard fainted, several of his teammates initially thought he may have been fooling around. But Browns linebacker Matt Roth recognized that Benard needed helped and rushed to a back room to get a member of the team's medical staff. Benard said Roth's actions underscored their relationship and the Browns' tight-knit squad.
"Matt Roth's a great guy," Benard said. "Since I got here he has taken care of me. Every guy talks about the character in this locker room. That's an example of it. Everybody wants to help the other person. That speaks really highly of Matt Roth and this team."
Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press