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Cedric Benson remembered: NFL star started charity, worked for mortgage firm after football career

Thomas Barrabi

Former NFL running back Cedric Benson started a charity and worked for a mortgage services firm in the years between his football career and his death in a motorcycle accident last Saturday night.

Following his retirement from the NFL in 2012, Benson founded NUFCED, an Austin, Texas-based charity that provided community programs and educational support to underprivileged children and their families. The organization helped to repair damage at the home of one of the victims killed in a series of bombings in Austin in 2018.

In 2017, Benson joined Gold Financial Services in a business development role. A Gold Financial Services representative confirmed that Benson worked for the company until at least 2018, adding that he left the role “about 10 months ago.”

"We were saddened to hear the news of Cedric’s passing," Gold Financial Services said in a statement. "We enjoyed knowing Cedric and having him on our team. You never want to hear tragic news about your people, even those who’ve moved on to other things. Our sympathies are with the Benson family and the family of the passenger at this difficult time."

Benson starred at the University of Texas from 2001 to 2004, finishing second on the school’s all-time rushing list. A first-round pick in the 2005 NFL Draft, Benson played for Chicago Bears, Cincinnati Bengals and Green Bay Packers during eight seasons in the NFL. He earned more than $25 million during his professional career, according to Spotrac.

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Benson, 36, was driving a BMW motorcycle when he collided with a white Dodge van at a high rate of speed. Benson and his passenger, Aamna Najam, 27, were pronounced dead at the scene.

“Cedric was not just a client, he was my friend,” Benson’s attorney, Sam Bassett, told the Austin Statesman. “He was immensely talented and fierce on the football field yet most have no idea the difficulties he overcame to achieve what he did. Though imperfect in some respects, once Cedric was your friend you understood how kind, sensitive and loyal he was as a man. He was like a younger brother or nephew to me. I will miss him very much.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report. This story has been updated.

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