Benn Pressing Toward Historic Comeback

June 19th, 2016

Arrelious Benn, a 2010 second-round pick of Tampa Bay, is embarking on one of the most intriguing comeback stories in NFL history.

Few NFL players would have a team to call their own if they spent three consecutive seasons — full seasons — on injured reserve.

Arrelious Benn is one of those rare breeds.

A Buccaneers’ 2010 second-round pick (No. 39 overall), Benn oozes talent and athleticism, but he’s proven to be among the most fragile players in NFL history. Entering his seventh NFL season, Benn has never been active for a Week 17 game.

Benn blew out his ACL as a rookie, when the Bucs hammered Seattle the day after Christmas to bump their 2010 record to 9-6. Benn’s first year finished with 25 catches, 395 yards and two touchdowns. Amazingly, he was back in the field for the 2011 opening day and caught four balls. But his sophomore campaign was cut short by a concussion.

Benn’s last NFL game action was November 18, 2012. Shoulder and knee injuries got the best of him that year.

Traded to the Eagles in 2013, Benn lost that season with a preseason concussion and blew out his ACL again in 2014. Last year with Jacksonville, it was a busted collarbone against the Giants in preseason.

Quitting infected his brain in 2016.

“Injuries do a big thing to your body, but also something to your mentality,” Benn told Joe at Jaguars minicamp last week. “You have to find ways to refresh yourself.

“Back to back to back, three years not being able to play football.”

Toughened By Winslow

Benn turns 28 in September and knows how unique his comeback would be. Joe doesn’t know of any player who spent three consecutive full seasons on injured reserve and returned to a real game. 

“It feels good. You know, I would by lying to you if I said it was easy. It wasn’t easy. It was tough,” Benn said. “There were days, the beginning of this year, I thought about just hanging it up. But I kept going. I’m not a quitter. I had to keep going. Stay active. Stay around the team. I stayed around [my teams] as much as I could while on IR through the years.”

Joe asked Benn who may have inspired him to grind through injuries. A former Bucs tight end was the first name off Benn’s tongue.

“Kellen [Winslow] definitely inspired me seeing what he went through to play every day [with chronic knee problems,] Benn said. “Jeremy Maclin and I tore our ACL at the same time [with the Eagles] and relied on each other and learned how to push through.”

Still With The Benn’d Around

One of the most notorious failed plays in Bucs history was the Benn’d Around. Former Bucs offensive coordinator Greg Olson (2009-2011) ran it repeatedly to horrendous results. Ironically, the photo above is of Benn at practice watching the Jaguars run it on Tuesday.

(Imagine Joe’s popping eyeballs and dropped jaw when that play started and Joe’s camera was in focus!)

Yes, the Benn’d Around remains in the Olson playbook. Joe saw Benn run one and cut inside early for a modest gain. His wide receiver coach screamed at him to make the first defender miss, and he appeared to do it. The explosion and powerful play that made him a second-round pick still seems there.

Benn’s confident he can find a secure home in the Jaguars’ well-stacked receiving corps, in part because of his special teams prowess on coverage units.

“Man, I want to do four or five more years, but I just have to stay healthy,” Benn said. “It’s going to be a big preseason for me.”

Joe watched Benn have a bad drop over the middle of the field, and he didn’t compete too well for what look like a 50-50 ball down the left sideline. It wasn’t his best day. But it was a healthy day.

It’s easy to call Benn a longshot for the Jaguars’ 53-man roster, but that word doesn’t do his story justice.

20 Responses to “Benn Pressing Toward Historic Comeback”

  1. BuccaneerBonzai Says:

    Pretty sad when being healthy is so important it overshadows the lack of talent.

    I once had hopes the kid would make it. I would say that time is past. He isn’t trying a comeback…he’s trying to start off. He has nothing to come back from.

  2. NJ BucFan Says:

    No reason to hate on him Bonzai. Not like the guy showed up out of shape and didn’t know the play book or anything like that when he was with us. He gave us his all, got hurt, did everything he could to get healthy and has been fighting that battle ever since.

    Talent was there. Dedication was absolutely there. Health wasn’t. Good luck to him.

  3. chromolly Says:

    i disagree Bonanzi,there were times Benn flashed Brilliance and other times WTF moments.

  4. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    A long shot for sure…..there are many healthy, younger talented WRs out there…….it’s compelling to root for a player like Benn…..and I agree….he certainly flashed talent when healthy.

  5. feelthepewterpower Says:

    My favorite play call of all-time…. The Benn’d Around. It never succeeded, always failed….but it was the most exciting five seconds in football.

  6. salish_seamonster Says:

    Another one of Dominik’s unfortunate 2nd round picks. Good luck to him.

  7. Chris Says:

    Agree with Bonzai. Can’t be a comeback of all you were was a 20/30 reception guy and known for an infamous play call that never worked.

  8. Buccfan37 Says:

    I liked Benn when he was with the Bucs, it’s a shame the injuries cut short his potential. Sort of a second round pick jinx a few times for the Bucs. Tweety may pan out.

  9. Bob in Valrico Says:

    with all the injuries he had,i wish him well.He had a chance to be a good player until injuries derailed him.

  10. Dreambig Says:

    2 blown ACLs, 2 concusions, broken colar bone …. man, I would hate to be Benn in his 40s and 50s. He is going to be a paraplegic! He might want to think long and hard if this is really the game for him.

  11. Biff Barker Says:

    Kinda reminds me of another 2nd round, oft hurt underachiever, except Reegus was a class guy though.

  12. David Says:

    maybe he can come back home to Tampa and see what he has left it he lasts through preseason. Lol

  13. Mike Johson Says:

    Nobody wants to say I will. This guy has had numerous serious injuries. He’s probably going to be in a wheelchair by 50 ..or sooner. Not to mention not knowing what day it is from the concussions. Wait for it….How do you spell Stupid past dumb Mr Benn?

  14. SB with Jameis Says:

    Great think-piece for us in slow times! Thanks.

  15. FLBoyInDallas Says:

    Lovie Smith is a horrible coach!

    Every article should begin with the above statement.

  16. DemBoyzFromDaBay727 Says:

    Nobody mentioned Lovie here FL boy. That was pretty random. Your in the wrong thread homie.

    I was a Benn fan when he was here. He did show sum flashes from time to time, and became a deep threat we healthy. It’s too bad his body won’t let hime reach his potential. He could of been a great receiver here imo.

  17. DallasBuc Says:

    Tampa cannot draft receivers.

  18. mac Says:

    Good luck to the “Balsa wood” receiver…

  19. BuccaneerBonzai Says:

    DallasBuc Says
    “Tampa cannot draft receivers.”

    I completely disagree with that statement.

  20. 98bucsfan Says:

    You know with the holes at receiver we have behind Humphries, I wouldn’t mind giving him a tryout for us if things don’t go well in jax. Js