Cedric Benson, a running back who was a dominant force for the University of Texas before an eight-year career in the National Football League, died on Saturday. He was 36.
His friends and family told The Austin American-Statesman that he had been in a motorcycle crash.
The police responded to a crash in Austin, Tex., involving a motorcycle with a man and a woman on it and a minivan around 10:30 p.m. on Saturday, said Officer Marcos Johnson, a spokesman for the Austin Police Department.
The minivan was pulling away from a stop sign when the crash occurred and both vehicles caught fire, he said. The woman on the motorcycle died immediately. The man was conscious and alert when officers pulled him away but died moments later, Officer Johnson said.
Two adults in the minivan had injuries that were not life-threatening, Austin-Travis County Emergency Medical Service said on Twitter.
Mr. Benson was a four-year starter for the Texas Longhorns football team. As a senior in 2004, he was recognized as the nation’s top running back when he received the Doak Walker Award.
He finished his career at Texas with 5,540 rushing yards, which ranks second in school history behind Ricky Williams and 10th overall in Division I history, according to College Football Reference.
“It’s an unbelievably sad day with the news of the passing of Cedric Benson,” Tom Herman, the Texas Longhorns head coach, said on Twitter. “We lost a true Longhorn legend, one of the best running backs in college football history and a really special man.”
In 2005, the Chicago Bears selected Mr. Benson with the fourth overall pick in the draft.
While his three seasons in Chicago were considered disappointing, Mr. Benson found more success with the Cincinnati Bengals, where he surpassed 1,000 rushing yards in three of his four seasons with the team.
Perhaps the highlight of his professional career came in a playoff loss following the 2009 season when he rushed for a franchise playoff record 169 yards and a touchdown in a 24-14 loss to the Jets.
Mr. Benson played one final season with the Green Bay Packers in 2012, but was limited to five games because of a foot injury.
Over the years, Mr. Benson had multiple run-ins with the law. He faced driving while intoxicated charges in 2008 and 2017, which were eventually dismissed. He also faced a criminal trespassing charge in 2003 and, in later years, assault charges.
Sam Bassett, Mr. Benson’s lawyer, said in a statement that his client was “imperfect in some respects,” but that “once Cedric was your friend, you understood how kind, sensitive and loyal he was as a man.”