Abraham, Benson show up for camp

Posted: Tuesday, August 30, 2005

John Abraham and Cedric Benson have little in common except the timing for ending their holdouts.

Abraham, a three-time Pro Bowl defensive end, and Benson, the fourth overall pick in the NFL draft this year, were at their teams' practice facilities Monday. Abraham signed his one-year, $6.67 million franchise tender with the New York Jets after missing all of training camp. Benson, a running back from Texas, reportedly got a five-year, $35 million deal with the Chicago Bears.

''The business part is over with,'' Abraham said. ''It's time to get to the personal part, which is getting back with my teammates and getting ready for the season. For me, it's more getting ready to play for the first game, not trying to hurt the team.''

Abraham, who has a history of sacks and injuries, will have a physical Tuesday and begin practicing with the team immediately. He won't play in the exhibition finale Thursday at Philadelphia, but is expected to see spot duty in the season opener at Kansas City on Sept. 11.

He missed the final four regular-season games and two playoff games last season after spraining his right knee. He says his knee feels fine, and has no hard feelings with organization.

''I'm in shape, I've been working since the season was over with,'' Abraham said. ''Obviously I had an injury last year, I had to rehab my knee and work on my body. It's been a long offseason, but it's been a very positive offseason.

''Hopefully I can stay healthy for 16 games. That's my only problem in the NFL so far. When I'm on the field, I've been a force.''

The Bears need Benson to be a force in a rookie-laden backfield. They'll also start Kyle Orton at quarterback after Rex Grossman broke his ankle and Chad Hutchinson flopped this summer.

''This did take a lot longer than what we had anticipated,'' GM Jerry Angelo said. ''We never really found that common ground. Usually, you find that common ground at some point the first couple weeks. We didn't really find anything that we agreed upon for quite some time. That created the long holdout.''

Benson took a conditioning test Monday, but did not practice. Coach Lovie Smith said he will not play in Thursday's preseason game against Cleveland and is questionable for the opener Sept. 11 at Washington.


Coach Mike Shanahan answered questions about why he decided to waive running back Maurice Clarett, the surprise third-round draft choice who was slowed by a groin injury and never made any impact in Denver's training camp.

''I think anytime you cut somebody in the third round, you feel like you made a mistake,'' Shanahan said. ''When you do that, you make a mistake and you go on. At least you evaluate it."


Willie Parker prides himself on his speed, but even he didn't expect his NFL career to take off this quickly. A college backup two years ago, he is now the Steelers' likely opening-day starter at running back.

Parker said Monday he hasn't been told he is officially on the team, yet he seems all but certain to start Sept. 11 against Tennessee because of injuries to Jerome Bettis (strained right calf) and Duce Staley (torn meniscus in knee).


Jerome McDougle returned to the Eagles, one month after he was shot in the stomach by three armed robbers in southwest Miami.

McDougle doesn't know when he'll be ready to play. Eagles coach Andy Reid said Sunday the third-year defensive end could be back for the fifth or sixth game if there aren't any setbacks in his rehab.

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