LeCharles Bentley

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LeCharles Bentley
No. 57, 65
Center / Guard
Personal information
Date of birth: (1979-11-07) November 7, 1979 (age 35)
Place of birth: Cleveland, Ohio
Career information
High school: Cleveland (OH) St. Ignatius
College: Ohio State
NFL Draft: 2002 / Round: 2 / Pick: 44
Debuted in 2002 for the New Orleans Saints
Last played in 2007 for the Cleveland Browns
Career history
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics as of 2007
Games played 57
Games started 57
Stats at NFL.com
Stats at pro-football-reference.com

LeCharles Vernon Bentley (born November 7, 1979) is a former American college and professional football player who was a center in the National Football League (NFL) for six seasons. He played college football for Ohio State University, earned consensus All-American honors, and was recognized as the best center in the country. The New Orleans Saints selected him in the second round of the 2002 NFL Draft, and he played professionally for the Saints and Cleveland Browns of the NFL. Bentley was a two-time Pro Bowl selection with the Saints. He retired after a knee injury.

Early years[edit]

Bentley was born in Cleveland, Ohio. He played high school football at St. Ignatius High School in Cleveland. He was a two-year starter and was a three-year letterman, earning All-Ohio honors as a senior in 1997.

College career[edit]

Bentley attended Ohio State University, where he was a four-year letterman for the Ohio State Buckeyes football team from 1998 to 2001, first for head coach John Cooper, then for Jim Tressel during his senior year. As a senior in 2001, he won the Rimington Trophy as college football's best center,[1] received first-team All-Big Ten Conference honors, and was recognized as a consensus first-team All-American.[2] He was a human development and family science major.

Professional career[edit]

New Orleans Saints[edit]

Bentley was drafted in the second round (44th overall) in the 2002 NFL Draft by the New Orleans Saints and was signed to a four-year deal worth $2.95 million. He excelled at the guard position and started in 14 games. He was named Sports Illustrated 's Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2002 and Pro Football Weekly All-Rookie Team. He made his NFL debut at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on September 8.

Bentley started in 13 games and earned a spot in the 2003 Pro Bowl.

In the 2004 season he moved back to his original center position and started in all 16 games, he went on to be voted as an alternate to the 2004 Pro Bowl at that position.[1]

Bentley started 14 games at center in 2005 and was voted to the Pro Bowl again. He left the Saints saying he would rather sit out the season than play with them again.[3]

Cleveland Browns[edit]

After backing out of an unofficial agreement with the Philadelphia Eagles,[4] Bentley signed with the Cleveland Browns in 2006,[5] and was regarded by ESPN as the top-rated free agent.

Bentley suffered a serious knee injury in training camp on July 27, 2006, during the first play on the first 11 on 11 training camp session.[5] He tore his patellar tendon, an injury that kept him out for the entire 2006 season. Bentley revealed that he had undergone four operations since getting hurt, the final two to clean out a staph infection that ate away at his tendon and a virus that became so severe that doctors considered amputating his leg. [6]

On July 23, 2007, ESPN reported that Bentley had been cleared to play by his physician and would be reporting to training camp. Bentley said that his knee was about '70 percent' and thought it would be 90 percent when the season started.[7] Bentley started the season on the physically unable to play list.

In December, the Browns shortened Bentley's $36 million contract from six years to three, with 2008 set to be his last year under contract with the Browns. His salary was reduced to the NFL minimum $605,000 with incentives to reach $4 million.

On June 10, 2008, The Plain Dealer reported that Bentley had rejoined his team on the practice field after passing his physical and being cleared to practice with the team. "I feel really blessed," Bentley said after partaking in his first Browns practice in 682 days. "The Lord's been really good to me. There's nothing more I can ask for."[8] On June 11, LeCharles Bentley's agent, Jonathan Feinsod, reported that Bentley asked for and was granted his release from the Cleveland Browns.[9]

Retirement[edit]

Upon his release, teams such as Buffalo, Cincinnati, Miami, Oakland, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, San Francisco and Seattle expressed varying degrees of interest in Bentley.[10] However, he was not signed to a team for the 2008 season.

After spending the 2008 season out of football, Bentley announced in January 2009 that he was no longer attempting to return to the NFL, and would start a career in Cleveland media. He co-hosted a nightly program on WKNR AM 850 from 2009-2011,[citation needed] and has also served as a camp coach.[1]

On July 22, 2010 ESPN.com reported that Bentley was suing the Cleveland Browns for having him rehab in training facilities where other members of the Cleveland Browns had gotten staph infections.[6] The staph infection did not allow his left patella tendon to heal. Bentley is reportedly suing for at least $25,000.[11] In July 2011, the Ohio Court of Appeals allowed the suit to go forward over the Browns's objection.[12] In February 2012, the Browns asked the United States Supreme Court to review that call, but in April 2012, the Court declined to hear the case.[13] Bentley and the Browns reached a confidential settlement in 2012.[6]

Personal[edit]

On December 20, 2006, Bentley presented his alma mater, St. Ignatius High School, with a check for $100,000. The money was to be used for a scholarship fund named in honor of his mother, Verneda. In May 2007, it was revealed that Bentley's mother has been accused of using money intended for the education of poor children to buy herself furniture. Federal agents are investigated Verneda Bentley for a fire that caused more than $1 million in damage at the nonprofit she runs.[5]

Bentley lives in Cleveland, and owns the L. Bentley O-Line Academy in Avon, Ohio. It is a facility that takes a comprehensive approach to teaching offensive line skills.[14]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Crabtree, Jeremy (2011-03-29). "LeCharles Bentley back on the field". ESPN. Retrieved 2013-08-23. 
  2. ^ 2011 NCAA Football Records Book, Award Winners, National Collegiate Athletic Association, Indianapolis, Indiana, p. 11 (2011). Retrieved June 24, 2012.
  3. ^ http://out-route.gloriousnoise.com/2006/07/the_injury_bug_strikes_first_victim.php
  4. ^ ProFootballTalk.com - The Best Pro Football Scoop on the Internet
  5. ^ a b c Smith, Michael David (2007-05-07). "Mother of LeCharles Bentley at Center of Fraud, Arson Probe". AOL News. Retrieved 2013-08-22. 
  6. ^ a b c "Cleveland Browns, LeCharles Bentley reach settlement". NFL.com. 2012-08-15. Retrieved 2013-08-23. 
  7. ^ "Surgeon clears Bentley to return to playing field". ESPN. 2007-07-23. Retrieved 2013-08-23. 
  8. ^ Bentley Eager to Restart His Career
  9. ^ Bentley Released from the Browns
  10. ^ Where some bigname free agents could land
  11. ^ LeCharles Bentley 2nd ex-Brown to sue for staph infection - ESPN
  12. ^ "LeCharles Bentley's lawsuit approved". Associated Press. July 8, 2011. Retrieved February 15, 2012. 
  13. ^ Cleveland Browns Football Company LLC, et al. v. LeCharles Bentley, no. 11-1008, petition for certiorari (docket). Retrieved September 6, 2013.
  14. ^ Ohio State Buckeyes Time And Change: Former center LeCharles Bentley - ESPN

External links[edit]