The Bald Truth
Cedric Benson says that Bears players resented him while he was in Chicago and that Bears honchos badmouthed and blackballed him after he left. Lovie Smith says they didn't. Bengals coach Marvin Lewis, who has benefited from Benson's emergence, says Smith actually spoke up on Benson's behalf. What really happened?
Aside from Benson pissing off the Bears by not inviting any of them on his party boat, that is?
Well, here goes ...
Immediately after the Bears drafted him, Benson played the poor-poor-pitiful-me routine, actually crying because he was ready to prove all the naysayers wrong.
He wasn't all that ready, though, because he held out and missed the start of camp. Then, upon signing, he was arrogant and aloof.
So it was all Benson's fault then? Not exactly.
Thomas Jones, obviously threatened by the presence of a top draft pick at his position, was very popular with the other players and took every opportunity to turn his teammates against Benson. Defensive players relished the opportunity to take extra-hard shots at the cocky Benson during training camp.
Just because Benson is paranoid doesn't mean many of his teammates weren't out to get him.
As for blackballing ...
Because Benson offered not even a sliver of evidence, it's pretty tough to give his charge much credence. He's bitter and has an ax to grind. Of course, the fact that the Bears wasted the fourth-overall draft pick and a lot of money on Benson gave some front-office types motive to do a little blackballing.
We probably never will know the truth about that part of the story. So let's just say that if Benson's Bengals beat the Bears in Cinci this Sunday, he's right. And if he loses, he's wrong.
Sounds fair to me.
For what it's worth, the Bengals say they love Benson, who is the league's third-leading rusher. They praise his work habits and say he's a good guy in the locker room. The Bears probably think that if Benson had been this dedicated way back when, things would have been different for him in Chicago.
In the end, this clearly is one of those deals in which everybody won.
Benson needed to get out of Chicago.
The Bears needed to move on.
The Bengals needed a good tailback.
Benson has helped Cincinnati become one of the NFL's surprise teams.
And Matt Forte has the Bears' running game going in high gear. As long as "reverse" also is considered a gear.
The Balder Truth
One could say that Mike Scioscia pulled his starter too early and that Joe Girardi pulled his starter too late.
Or one could say that the pitchers employed by both ALCS teams should have done better at the jobs they are paid handsomely to do.
Egads! Actually holding zillionaire athletes accountable! Have I lost my mind?
As it turned out, after blowing a 4-0 lead, the Angels rallied for a 7-6 victory over the Yankees, sending the series back to New York for Game 6 ... and making their manager look less stupid.
By the way, we all should be as stupid as Scioscia and Girardi.
THE BALDEST TRUTH
It's so sad to hear that Magic Johnson and Isiah Thomas are having a spat.
I mean, isn't it time for them to kiss (again) and make up?