Will that be it? Will the Packers part ways with the 30-year-old running back now that the team’s season has come to an end? Probably. Given past history and GM Ted Thompson’s propensity to eject elderly running backs from his roster, Benson will most likely be gone sometime soon.
It’s a shame that Benson didn’t have the chance to show what he had left in the tank this past season
After a slow start, Benson was just getting into a groove. The Packers signed Benson midway through training camp where he got a handful of carries before being thrust into the starting backfield when the Packers hosted the San Francisco 49ers in the season opener. In that game, he carried the ball 9 times for 18 yards. Not exactly a barn burning opener for the veteran.
However, in week two, Benson showed flashes of his old self, gaining 81 yards on 20 carries against his former team, the Chicago Bears. He also caught four passes for 35 yards in the Packers first win of the season.
In week three, it was his strong running in the second half of the Packers “Fail Mary” loss in Seattle that gave the Packers brass and fans a glimpse of how he can carry a team. With Aaron Rodgers getting sacked eight times in the first half, the Packers went to Benson and his hard running style in the second half.
Though he carried the ball 17 times for only 45 yards, he picked up some tough yardage inside and kept the hard-charging Seattle defense off balance enough to help give the Packers the lead until the final play of the game.
In week four at home against the New Orleans Saints, Benson again picked up the pace, running 18 times for 84 yards. He also caught four passes for another 22 yards in the team’s exciting 28-27 win.
In the fifth game of the season at Indianapolis, Benson was again running hard in the first half when his leg was rolled up on and he suffered what was to become a season-ending Lisfranc fracture in his foot. The hope was that he would recover in time to help the Packers in their playoff run, but that didn’t happen. He was placed on injured reserve.
Though he wants to return to the Packers in 2013, the likelihood that will happen seems less with each passing day. That doesn’t mean that Benson isn’t optimistic.
“Hopefully upstairs feels the same way,” Benson said when asked about his future with the team. “A contending team and a team that takes pride in being precise and executing and doing things correct; I’m all for it.”
What the Packers backfield will look like in 2013 is unclear, but it most likely will include Alex Green, DuJuan Harris, John Kuhn, and possibly James Starks and Brandon Saine, who both were also hampered by injuries.
It’s possible Benson could be re-signed for the minimum, but it’s most likely the Packers have seen the last of him.