Benson remains guarded after Bengals signing of RB Johnson

Published 3:45 am Thursday, November 19, 2009

CINCINNATI — Another troubled player trying to revive his career? Nothing new for Cincinnati.

Most Bengals players were unruffled Wednesday by the signing of running back Larry Johnson, brought in for the rest of the season in what’s been described as a reserve role to help the AFC North leaders should they have an injury.

“We’ve definitely got a history with picking up guys that other teams are going to shy away from and having success with them, so hopefully it will be a success,” quarterback Carson Palmer said, reflecting the sentiment in the locker room.

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The most telling reaction came from the player who could be affected most. Running back Cedric Benson didn’t have much to say.

The Bengals signed Johnson for the rest of the season on Tuesday, giving them another running back in case Benson’s injury lingers. He had to leave an 18-12 win in Pittsburgh on Sunday because of sprained hip muscles. He didn’t practice Wednesday.

After a light morning workout, Benson didn’t have much to say about the team’s decision. Told that he didn’t appear to be thrilled with the move, he smiled.

“Oh, I didn’t know I was supposed to be jumping out of my seat or anything,” Benson said.

“I really have no feelings about it,” he added. “They made a move they felt they needed to do, and that’s fine with me, whatever decisions they make in that area. It’s not going to affect me in any kind of way. Whatever happens from here on, I can guarantee you I’ll definitely be making the best of it.”

It’ll be one of the interesting subplots during their drive for the playoffs.

By sweeping the Steelers and the Baltimore Ravens — the teams that played in the AFC title game last season — Cincinnati (7-2) put itself in control of the division. The Bengals lead the Steelers by a game, and have the important tiebreakers in their favor.

Plus, they’ve made it through the most challenging part of the schedule. The next three games are at Oakland (2-7), then home against Cleveland (1-8) and Detroit (1-8). There’s also a home game against Kansas City (2-7) left.