Benson could be much lengthier holdout

Not since quarterback Kelly Stouffer refused to sign with the St. Louis Cardinals in 1987, after the team made him the sixth overall player chosen in that year's draft, has a rookie held out for his entire debut season. Could tailback Cedric Benson, the top pick of the Chicago Bears, skip his rookie year and possibly go back into the draft next spring? It isn't likely, but you never know.

The media got way too excited Thursday when Benson, in Chicago on business totally unrelated to football, dropped in on Bears general manager Jerry Angelo for an impromptu meeting. The upshot of the 30-minute session, though, was no upshot at all. No negotiations took place -- agent Eugene Parker didn't even attend, nor did the people handing the talks for the Bears -- and the get-together accomplished next to nothing.

There are signs that Benson, whose absence from camp reached 34 days on Friday, is dug in for the long haul. He has shipped a couple of luxury automobiles that he had transported to Chicago a month or two ago, back to Texas. And word is he's prepared to sell off the pricey home he purchased. It might all be posturing, and nothing more, but Benson is known to his friends as a tough-minded guy who makes his own decisions on his future.