Travis Benjamin

Travis Benjamin fought through adversity in 2014

Browns wide receiver Travis Benjamin saw the highest of highs and some lows in 2014.

Benjamin was at the forefront of Cleveland’s 29-28 Week 5 win over the Tennessee Titans – you know, the victory that became the largest come-from-behind road win (25-point deficit) in NFL history 

“That’s a game I’ll remember until I die,” Joe Thomas said in a recent interview.

Two fourth-quarter touchdown passes from Brian Hoyer were secured in the back of the end zone by Benjamin. The following week, representatives from the Hall of Fame made the trip to Berea to collect Benjamin’s jersey for display in Canton.

“It feels like a kid going to Disney World,” Benjamin said.

But the 2014 season wasn’t all roses for Benjamin. Known as a dynamic punt returner in his first two seasons with the Browns, Benjamin saw his production take a dip. In 2013, Benjamin averaged 11.7 yards per return and boasted a 79-yard touchdown before tearing his ACL. In 2014, his average fell to 8.5, and Cleveland was forced to experiment with Jordan Poyer and even 32-year-old safety Jim Leonhard.

“I have to come in and keep pushing,” Benjamin said in an October interview.

On Dec. 7 with the Indianapolis Colts in town, the special teams unit would face their biggest challenge yet. Both specialists, Adam Vinatieri and Pat McAfee, were ranked first at their positions. Further, former Browns return man Josh Cribbs was making all of the headlines after he said he would jump in the Dawg Pound if he scored a touchdown.

The special teams unit rose up to the challenge, stifling Indianapolis in the field position battle. Benjamin took the encounter personally, as he ran back a first-quarter punt 37 yards to give Cleveland a heap of momentum.

But the play that best embodied Benjamin’s competitive “Play like A Brown” nature was in Week 16 against the Carolina Panthers. In the fourth quarter, quarterback Brian Hoyer underthrew Benjamin on a deep route near the right sideline. Carolina cornerback Josh Norman intercepted the pass and sprinted up field.

After sprinting and weaving 40 yards through would-be Browns tacklers, Norman felt someone behind him. It was Benjamin, who poked the ball free and recovered the fumble, giving the Browns another chance.

“That play, to me, shows you what Travis Benjamin is all about,” linebacker Barkevious Mingo said. “He just never gives up anything.”

Said Mike Pettine:  “If you had said to me that happened and guess who did it, Travis probably would have been the first or second name that I would have come up with. That’s the type of play that he would make for sure.”

All in all, Benjamin ended up leading Cleveland in touchdown receptions, battled through adversity as a punt returner and proved to his teammates and Browns fans he will fight on every single down.

“I still have room to grow as a playmaking receiver,” Benjamin said in his exit interview. “And I hope I can prove that.”

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Travis Benjamin gets defensive

Travis Benjamin was years away from becoming a member of the University of Miami program, but he remembers the play.

Ohio State led Miami, 14-7, in the National Championship game in 2003. Miami stopped an Ohio State third quarter drive when Sean Taylor intercepted a pass and ran it out of the end zone. Running back Maurice Clarett kept the drive alive when he chased Taylor down, ripped the ball away and regained possession for the Buckeyes. They kicked a field goal and eventually won the game in overtime.

A title was not on the line Sunday, but Benjamin went to his inner Clarett to perform a similar spectacular play against the Carolina Panthers, keeping the Browns hopes alive in a game they eventually lost, 17-13.,AAAAQBxUNqE~,xKBGzTdiYSSRqIKPsPdkNW3W_DNtPBTa

Play it again: On first-and-10 from the 20, quarterback Brian Hoyer's deep pass was intended for wide receiver Travis Benjamin but cornerback Josh Norman made a spectacular leaping catch for the interception. Norman quickly got up and sprinted free for a big return, but Benjamin trailed him, stripped the ball and recovered the fumble. The Browns went from a huge turnover to a first down on one play thanks to Benjamin.

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Travis Benjamin Favors Starting Manziel?

Browns players are in a tricky spot, until coach Mike Pettine declares which quarterback he’s starting.

They’ll profess loyalty to Brian Hoyer, because he’s gotten them this far. But they also see the same thing everyone sees from Johnny Manziel.

“I was excited to see him get a chance to show the league what he can do,” defensive end Billy Winn said. “He went out there and made everything come to life.”

Winn and other players said they trust Hoyer as well, and Manziel could complicate other aspects of the offense.

Wide receiver Travis Benjamin said Manziel’s scrambling ability makes his job different, along with his lack of experience.

“We just figure, as receivers, we have to work more,” Benjamin said. “If Johnny comes in the huddle and he pronounces the play wrong, we’ve got to make sure we correct it. We’ve got to make sure we correct him. Offensive linemen, tight ends, all the receivers, all the running backs, we’ve just got to make sure we’ve got to be in form when he’s in the game. . . .

“Johnny is a baller, no matter what. Ready or not, you put him in the game and if he doesn’t make the play with his arm, he’ll make the play with his legs. Running backs, receivers, tight ends and linemen also have to come together and help him and make sure we have limited mistakes so we can push Johnny to get the edge on people.”

While everyone wants to be polite to the workmanlike Hoyer, it’s seems apparent which way this one’s pointing, and it’s going to be exciting for a lot of people.

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Travis Benjamin's return to returns

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BEREA, Ohio -- Travis Benjamin has emerged as one of Brian Hoyer’s most reliable targets at wide receiver this season. It’s particularly good news for Benjamin because his previous bread-and-butter, returning punts, hasn’t been nearly as reliable.

Benjamin, who shared punt return duties in 2012 with Joshua Cribbs and took the reins from him in 2013, returned two punts for touchdowns in his first two seasons and averaged over 10 yards per return in 2013. He has struggled fielding punts this season, one in which the Browns' overall punt return game has been lacking. Despite his struggles, Benjamin, who recently returned to the job, will continue as the team’s punt returner Sunday in Atlanta.

"Yeah, he sure did," said special teams coordinator Chris Tabor when asked if Benjamin had done enough against Houston to keep the job. "He's going to be our punt returner. 'Rabbit' is going to be back there."

“(Confidence) never was a problem,” said Benjamin after practice on Thursday. “Throughout my years of catching punts it never was a problem. It’s all about getting refocused, knowing that, what’s on your plate -- knowing that you got to go to offense then go back to punt return -- it’s all about just settling in."

As for why he lost the punt return job in the first place?

“I wouldn’t say it was taken away,” said Benjamin "'cause I always had the call. 'Well, OK, (special teams coordinator Chris Tabor), this week I felt good,’ I was going back there. … Just sort of giving it the time to get my confidence back in myself and get the job done myself.”

Just to reiterate his confidence level, Benjamin stood by an earlier prediction he would have a punt return touchdown this season.

“Yes. I’m sticking to my prediction that I will have a punt return (touchdown) before the season is over with.”

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Hope For Travis Benjamin

PR Travis Benjamin is listed behind PR Jordan Poyer on the team's depth chart, but he still represents the Browns biggest threat in the punt return game.

However, Benjamin has had trouble hanging on to the ball and has relegated him to the sidelines. Special teams coordinator Chris Tabor said he hasn't given up on Benjamin as a punt returner.

"I haven't given up on him," Tabor said. "When the time is right, he'll go."

The Browns are averaging just 3.2 yards a return, but have had trouble hanging on to the ball.

Tabor said he's tried the most guys out since he's been here at punt returner. He said the players discuss the situation. Jim Leonhard handled the return duties against the Bengals, but even he fumbled a punt return which set up the only Bengals score.

"We talk about it. It is the elephant is in the room," Tabor said. "There's no other way to fix it than to keep working at it."

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Travis Benjamin goes 2-52 against Tampa Bay

Browns WR Travis Benjamin caught 2-of-4 targets for 52 yards in Sunday's Week 9 win over Tampa Bay.

A rotational receiver in Cleveland's offense a la Taylor Gabriel, Benjamin has big-play ability but plays limited snaps and sees limited targets. He will not be a fantasy option when the Browns take on the Bengals in Week 10.

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Smoke, Fire and Rabbits: How Travis Benjamin became one of the fastest players in the NFL

How did Travis Benjamin become one of the fastest and most dangerous deep threat wide receivers in the National Football League?

For that answer, let’s travel back to Belle Glade, Fla., a small town of 17,000 roughly an hour north of Miami. The year was 2002. Benjamin was a lanky 12-year-old and had impressed the older neighborhood kids who occasionally watched him play street football in their col-de-sac . The boys invited Benjamin to join them around a large farm, which happened to be on fire.

To the world, Belle Glade is known is one of the scarier places on the East Coast. According to a 1985 article from AEGIS, the city had the highest rate of AIDS per capita. And a 2003 FBI report cited the city as having the second highest violent crime rate in the country at 298 per 10,000 residents. Poverty is prevalent.
Belle Glade though is also home to Glades Central High School, which was won six state titles and has produced 11 players who have been drafted the past 20 years including four in the first round with Fred Taylor and Santonio Holmes being the most notable. Only seven high schools have had more players selected.

“Football is everything to my area,” said Benjamin.

To Floridians and to Benjamin, Belle Glade is known as “Muck City.” The town is tucked in the Southeastern corner of Lake Okeechobee in Palm Beach County. Regular torrential downpours have overflowed the lake for hundreds of years causing mucky conditions, in turn, which are ideal for the crop sugarcane to grow. 

Sugarcane fields look like the corn fields many are accustomed to seeing and they can grow up to seven feet tall, but most of the plant is just stalk and leaves – not the important sugar part. So from May to November, farmers light the sugarcane on fire. The process eases the manual labor, and the sugarcane falls right off the plant.

Why are we giving you a South Florida agriculture lesson? Because this is exactly where Benjamin’s world class speed was born.

Rabbits make their home inside these sugarcane fields. The smoke from the fires send hundreds of rabbits fleeing from their home.

Benjamin had always enviously watched the rabbits as a boy. Now he was getting his first chance to chase them down. The rabbits ran right, and left, north and south. With a large wooden stick in his hand, Benjamin attempted to slow down the rabbits. Some residents would eat the rabbits as cuisine, which tasted like pork chops. Others would sell them for $4 to neighboring towns.

On his very first time, Benjamin caught 15 rabbits in a mere two hours. Everyone watched the 12-year-old with their jaws dropped in astonishment. The people of Belle Glade had never seen anyone, let alone a child, chase down rabbits like this.

“I really do think chasing rabbits helped me develop agility,” said Benjamin, who guessed he chased rabbits 50 times in his life and caught hundreds of them. “Sometimes when I watch my punt returns on film, it reminds me of being a kid with the rabbits.”

Coach Mike Pettine and the Cleveland Browns fan base are thrilled with the fact that Benjamin has only gotten faster since his rabbit chasing days. The third season of an NFL career is often coined “the make or break year” for burgeoning professional players. All Benjamin is doing is leading the Browns with three touchdown receptions – two of which came in the fourth quarter in the NFL’s biggest road rally victory of all-time against the Tennessee Titans. Without Benjamin the Browns don’t overcome the 25-point deficit, which was so impressive, representatives from the Pro Football Hall of Fame mounted Benjamin and quarterback Brian Hoyer’s jersey in Canton.

Even though Benjamin’s neighborhood still gushed about his speed, it wasn’t until later in his high school career at Glades Central that he realized football might one day became his day job. As a freshman, Benjamin only weighed 130 pounds and decided to not even play football, fearing injury. While his friends played on the freshman team, Benjamin trained and put on weight.

His sophomore year Benjamin was placed on the junior varsity team for two games and immediately bumped up to varsity, once coaches realized no cornerback could cover him. As a junior, Benjamin caught 23 passes for 494 yards and seven touchdowns – two of those touchdowns came in a state championship win over and current Redskins running back Alfred Morris, and were reminiscent of the scoring plays against the Titans. 

The University of Miami coaching staff showed up to Benjamin’s high school spring game, heading into his senior year. They offered the wide receiver a scholarship on the spot and the four-star recruit accepted without hesitation. Benjamin grew up watching the Hurricanes every Saturday and fell in love with “The U” on the side of Miami’s helmets.

“My main focus is once I set a goal for myself, I’m going to stick to it,” said Benjamin, who was beginning to wonder if Miami was going to offer him a scholarship. “So I just stuck to it until I got an offer.”

The problem? The Hurricanes had offered seven other receivers, all with higher accolades than Benjamin. It didn’t matter to him, though, and not the coaches either. Benjamin beat out all the players to become the only true freshman to get regular playing time. By the time his college career ended, Miami fans knew Benjamin for more than his dreadlocks. Benjamin finished his tenure with the Hurricanes as one of only six players in program history with more than 2,000 receiving yards.

But Miami wasn’t the perennial powerhouse they were when Benjamin loved them as a kid. The Hurricanes went 29-22 in Benjamin’s four seasons, playing in bowl games with the names Emerald and Champ Sports, as opposed to Orange or Rose. 

So that’s why when the Cleveland Browns drafted Benjamin in the fourth round in 2012, he wrote down his goal: help restore the glory years to the city of Cleveland. 

“It was kind of disappointing that Miami wasn’t a championship caliber team, but it was also a learning experience knowing that we had the pieces to win, but you have ups and downs as a player and as a staff and team,” said Benjamin. “It was a blessing to be a fourth rounder and coming to Cleveland. I could say it was just like Miami was. Coming into a downfall of a team that, who needs to rebuild. And needs help from guys to rebuild it. And we’re about to get it right.”

Benjamin said because of the trades and uncertainty, his first two years were marred by guys not giving it their all. That’s the exact opposite with Pettine at the helm.

“The whole team has bought in,” said Benjamin. “From the receivers to the linemen to the defense. Everybody is willing to make that sacrifice. And that’s why you see us becoming a real team.”

When Benjamin’s career is all said and done, he wants people to remember him for mainly things, but one sticks out above the rest: that defensive players and coaches feared his presence.

If he keeps playing the way he has in 2014, Benjamin may need to set an even loftier goal.

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Travis Benjamin gets place in Canton

The Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton asked for the jerseys that QB Brian Hoyer and WR Travis Benjamin wore in last week's historic win over the Titans.

Hoyer threw the game-winning touchdown pass to Benjamin with 1:09 to play to complete the 25-point comeback win.

"It's pretty cool, especially a kid growing up here going to Canton all the time -- field trips, whatever it might be," Hoyer said. "To have something that I wore on display there is pretty cool, but with my luck, that record will get broken this week."


Three days after the #browns staged the greatest comeback by a road team in #nfl history, the jerseys of QB Brian Hoyer & @travisbenjamin11 are now on display!

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Travis Benjamin atones for return issues

Cleveland Browns wide receiver Travis Benjamin could have let a mishandled punt and near turnover in the third quarter take him completely out of his game, but it was his persistence that led to Sunday's 29-28 win over the Tennessee Titans at L.P. Field.

Benjamin caught two fourth-quarter touchdowns, and heL.P.ed the Browns seal the largest comeback victory not only in franchise history, but also the biggest ever by a road team in the NFL.

"I grabbed him when he came off after the fumbled punt, and just said to him, 'Hang in there. Your job when you have a chance to make a play is to make a play,'" Browns coach Mike Pettine said.

"It's obvious he lacks confidence in the punt return game, but for a guy, that's just a microcosm of the team. Here's a guy that had something bad happen to him, and he didn't go in the tank. He bounced back and made two plays, including the game winner."

On first-and-10 from Tennessee's 17-yard line, quarterback Brian Hoyer dropped back deep into the backfield and avoided a rush from a Titans defender to find Benjamin wide open on the slant route in the middle of the end zone for the score.

"That was a play where our up-tempo offense gets their defense tired," Hoyer said. "Usually, when you come out there and it's that coverage, the defensive end is right up the field and you have to throw it quick, but he was so tired, I think. He kind of just shuffled along with me. I was able to pull up and I saw Travis just spring open in the end zone. I thought I overthrew him on that one too."

With 1:09 remaining in regulation, it was another Hoyer to Benjamin connection that erased an 18-point halftime deficit. Hoyer's six-yard touchdown pass to Benjamin tied the game at 28 all, and Billy Cundiff's extra point gave the Browns the one-point margin needed for victory.

Hoyer found Benjamin in the back of the end zone, similar to the manner in which he delivered the game-tying touchdown to the Browns' quick-footed wide receiver at the Pittsburgh Steelers in the regular-season opener, on an in-and-out drag route along the back line of the end zone.

"On a play like that, we figured they were either going to all-out blitz us or three-man rush us," Hoyer said. "Right away, I could tell it was a three-man rush. Usually, with that, you're never going to hit a play on schedule. It was kind of a scramble drill without the scrambling.

"It's something we work on throughout the week, especially in the red zone, and Trav made a great move, in and out, kind of similar to Pittsburgh when he scored and I thought I overthrew him when I first threw it. But he got up, grabbed it, got his feet down and made a great play."

Hoyer completed four passes to Benjamin for 48 yards and the two touchdowns, but according to the veteran signal-caller, it was at his and Benjamin's worst that allowed them to build a chemistry that has come through on the field.

"My relationship with Trav goes back to when we were both rehabbing our ACLs," Hoyer said. "I love the guy to death because he's quiet, but he's one of the guys that texted me over the bye week and said, 'Hey man. We're better than this. I'm sitting here watching these guys and we can win in this league.'

"To see a guy who doesn't talk all the time but sends you a text message like that, it shows how much it means to him. I have a lot of faith in him, and our relationship grew as we rehabbed together."

Running back Ben Tate added, "The way he played today at the end, him making those plays, and Trav coming back from making a mistake earlier, getting two touchdowns and helping us win this game, that's big. That shows resilience. That's what you need when you're trying to take the next step."

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Travis Benjamin vows to 'showcase my skills' versus the Titans

BEREA, Ohio – Browns coach Mike Pettine isn't ready to replace Travis Benjamin as the team's primary punt returner.

After a tentative start, Benjamin plans to reward the coach's confidence in him.

"It's all got to do with me," Benjamin said of his early struggles. "I'm going to showcase my skills coming into the Tennessee game and put our special teams in the top rank where they're supposed to be."

The offense has flourished despite getting little field-position help from the special teams. Benjamin has returned just three punts for two yards while calling for five fair catches.

In the club's 23-21 loss to Ravens, the University of Miami product opted not to catch a fourth-quarter punt that bounced outside the 20 and rolled to 7 – flipping the field-position battle in the game's final two series.

No longer the primary kickoff returner, Benjamin admitted he was struggling a bit with his confidence. He muffed a first-quarter punt against the Ravens.
"There are plays out there where the adjustment is, 'I can make that play,' instead of 'I see this (defender) coming scot-free (so I'll) fair catch.' I have to be confident in making the first person miss all the time on special teams."

Both Pettine and Benjamin downplayed the impact of last year's season-ending knee injury. He's caught four passes for 69 yards, including a 43-yarder to set up the first touchdown versus Baltimore.

"He's playing very well," Pettine said of Benjamin in the pass game. "I think just about every week he's gotten behind the opponents' secondary, so I don't know if I would say the knee is necessarily a big factor there. I think it's just too early to panic in that situation."

Benjamin said it could take just one big return to get him in a groove again.

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Travis Benjamin plays it safe and late-game field position shifts because of it

CLEVELAND, Ohio – Travis Benjamin made one big catch Sunday afternoon.

But it was his decision not to try making another on special teams that also proved noteworthy in the Browns' 23-21 loss.

In the game's final minutes, Benjamin opted not to field a punt from the Ravens' Sam Koch around the 20-yard line at windswept FirstEnergy Stadium. Instead, the ball bounced and rolled all the way to the Browns' 7, pinning the home team deep in its end.

The Browns, clinging to a 21-20 lead, ran three plays before punting. The Ravens scored the game-winning field goal on the final possession after taking over at the 50 -- field position aided by Koch's 57-yard punt and Benjamin's decision not to catch it.

The Browns third-year pro, who caught a 43-yard, first-quarter pass setting up a touchdown, explained his decision to let the punt bounce.

"I wasn't afraid at all (to catch it)," he said. "I got up under the ball correctly and at the last minute, a gust of wind blew it and it went past my hand. I didn't want to go back and reach for the ball, so I just let it pass by."

Winds were gusting at 23 mph at kickoff, according to the official score sheet.

Benjamin also muffed a punt in the first quarter but recovered the ball. The Browns had no return yards on three punts Sunday.

Returning from a torn anterior cruciate ligament, The Rabbit has had a slow start in the special teams department. One of the league's most dangerous punt returners in 2013, Benjamin has run back just three for a total of 2 yards. He's also called for five fair catches.

He began the season as the primary kickoff returner but is now splitting time with Marlon Moore. Moore had the only kickoff return Sunday for 31 yards.  

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Marlon Moore replaces Travis Benjamin as kick returner

Marlon Moore has replaced Travis Benjamin as the Browns’ primary kick returner.
Special teams coach Chris Tabor made the decision to make Moore first on the depth chart, though he says he still believes in Benjamin. Benjamin has four returns for 85 yards. His longest return is 28 yards.
Moore returned one kick 32 yards last week against the Saints. He did not play in the first game because he was serving a one-game suspension for violating the substance abuse policy before signing with the Browns. Moore returned six kicks in preseason for 197 yards — a 32.8 average. He had a long return of 52 yards.
“He did some great things for us in the preseason and deserved that opportunity,” Tabor said on Sept. 18. “Travis’ role expanded a little bit offensively, so we took a little off his plate there. But Travis Benjamin will still also return kicks for us this season.”
Benjamin suffered a torn ACL on a punt return against the Chiefs last year. He said he’s 100 percent and Tabor said he hasn’t detected any hesitation from Benjamin. But Benjamin has fair-caught five of seven punts. As a wide receiver, he has three catches for 26 yards.
“It’s just a depth chart to me,” Moore said after practice. “Outside looking in it means a lot, but inside this locker room, we know all the talent we have, so somebody has to be first on the depth chart.”
Kickers routinely boot the ball five yards or more into the end zone. A kick returner could have a 27-yard return average but still leave the ball for the offense inside the 20. Moore said a returner has to make a split-second decision while the ball is in the air.
“I want to take it out every time,” Moore said. “You have to take into consideration your team. That could be a selfish play if you want to make it that way. You could take it out 8, 9 yards deep and get tackled on the 15 and put your offense in a bad field position.
“Everybody wants to get across that 20. That’s my goal every time. If it’s 8, 9 deep, you really have to assess the situation. Is the ball in the air long? Is it a line drive so you can just catch it and go and catch the kick (coverage) team off guard? A lot goes into it.”
The Browns need a boost on their kick returns. Their average starting position is the 16.9-yard line — second-worst in the league. Arizona is last at 13.6. The Browns started inside the 20 four times. Benjamin returned kicks to the Cleveland 25, 14, 18 and 9 in the season opener.
Cameron ‘very limited’
Tight end Jordan Cameron will likely miss his second straight game with a shoulder injury. He was listed as “limited” on Sept. 18 injury report, but offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan said Cameron was “very limited.”
“I think it can go either way,” Shanahan said. “Really, in my mind, it’s the same as last week. I’m definitely hoping he can be ready. You’ve got to have some stuff available for him, but when a guy is limited on a Thursday, you know there’s no guarantee. You can’t game-plan all around him.”
Cameron said the same thing he did the previous day. He will wake up and see how it feels.
If he rests the shoulder against the Ravens, he will have another week to rest it because the Browns are on their bye Sept. 28.
“I want to play. But if I can’t, I won’t,” Cameron said. “We still have a lot of season left. We have 13 more games and hopefully more.”
Linebacker Barkevious Mingo was also limited with a shoulder injury. Running back Ben Tate (knee) did not practice.

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Travis Benjamin has Tabor's support

BEREA, Ohio -- Cleveland Browns wide receiver Travis Benjamin did not have the return to regular-season game action that he wanted to have in the 2014 opener against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field last Sunday.

Benjamin averaged 21.3 yards over four returns, took out a kickoff that was nine yards deep in the end zone and failed to make it to the 15-yard line, and singled for three fair catches on four punt returns.

"There would probably one or two returns I felt I could've made a better play at, so we're going to get it started with New Orleans this week," Benjamin said after Thursday's practice.

Midway through the second quarter, Benjamin dropped back nine yards deep into the end zone to return a kickoff, but ran out of bounds at the Browns' nine-yard line. Six plays later, the Browns were forced to punt.

"It was just miscommunication by my part, knowing that it was a field return, so when I caught the ball and came out of the end zone, everybody just ran over there toward the return, so I just tried to get the best yardage I can and get out of bounds," Benjamin said.

"Depending on how the game is, if we know they're slower on kickoff, not getting in their lanes on kickoff, we'll bring it out eight or nine deep. It was just my communication on my behalf that eight or nine deep, knowing the team we're playing against not to bring it out."

When he stepped onto the field in Pittsburgh last Sunday, Benjamin was playing in his first game back since tearing an anterior cruciate ligament in his knee in an October loss to the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium last season. However, he insisted there was no hesitation on his part, "not at all."

"When we were reviewing film, I saw that it was one punt return where I fair caught it where I could've caught it and made a move, but it's all about the change of the game," Benjamin said. "If I had questions about my knee, I wouldn't be out there. I wouldn't put myself in the situation to make my team get into bad position."

Although Benjamin struggled against the Steelers, he still has the belief and support of his special-teams coordinator, Chris Tabor.

"I still have a lot of confidence in Travis," Tabor said. "By no means am I going with 'the sky is falling' after one game. I still look at a young man that still holds the franchise record for the longest return, franchise record for the most yards in a game.

"I think that the first pre-season/regular-season game, the first seven times he touched it, he had four touchdowns. I still think it's in there, and it's just his first game back."

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Travis Benjamin Returns to Practice Wednesday

Benjamin (ribs) was present at practice Wednesday, the Akron Beacon Journal reports.

Benjamin left Monday night's preseason game with a ribs injury, but as expected, the ailment's minor nature allowed the wideout to practice as usual Tuesday. Given his normal involvement, Benjamin should be good to go for Saturday's third preseason game and moving forward into the regular season.

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Travis Benjamin injures rib in Cleveland Browns' preseason loss

Cleveland Browns receiver Travis Benjamin sustained a rib injury in the third quarter of his 2014 preseason debut against the Washington Redskins. Benjamin was also treated for a possible concussion, but passed the test.

He did not return to the Browns' 24-23 loss in Washington.

From The Cleveland Plain Dealer:

The Browns receiver-returner sustained a rib injury later in the third quarter after getting hammered by Washington Redskins' defensive back Bacarri Rambo on a play that resulted in a Johnny Manziel sack. Benjamin, who stayed down for several moments, was checked for a concussion, but doctors determined he suffered no head trauma.

Benjamin is listed third at wide receiver on the Browns depth chart, behind Josh Gordon and Andrew Hawkins, but Gordon could be suspended up to a full year for a failed drug test. Along with his receiver duties, Benjamin will field punts and kickoffs this season. 

There has been no timeline for how long Benjamin will be sidelined.

The receiver missed the final eight games last year after tearing his anterior cruciate ligament.

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Travis Benjamin Hoping To See Action

Benjamin (knee) is hoping to return a few kicks during Monday's preseason matchup with the Redskins, the Elyria Chronicle-Telegram reports.

Benjamin, who missed most of last season with a torn ACL, has impressed the Browns' coaching staff thus far in camp. While he's hoping to expand his role outside of special teams, he'll first need to prove he's healthy enough to handle kick-return duties. Benjamin sat out last weekend's preseason opener against Detroit.

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Travis Benjamin feels faster coming back from torn ACL

Cleveland Browns wide receiver and return specialist Travis Benjamin, the fastest player on the roster before he suffered a torn ACL in 2013, feels he’ll be faster in his comeback.

“I actually feel much faster than I was before. Mostly I focused on my lower body and getting it stronger knowing that I had an ACL surgery,” said Benjamin.

Benjamin was injured returning a punt on Oct, 27 and had to rehab relentlessly to be ready for the start of camp July 25.

He added after a 50-yard catch from Johnny Manziel that he also feels he can stretch the field and catch sharp balls and long balls.

Benjamin, a 2012 fourth-round draft pick from Miami, caught 18 passes as a rookie. One was a 69-yard catch and run for a touchdown. He caught five passes last year and one of those covered 39 yards. He had one carry for 45 yards in 2013 and six in 2012. One of those went for 35 yards.

He has six career kick returns for 222 yards — a 37.0 average, and has 25 career punt returns for a 16.7 average.

“I always feel like I’m the fastest guy in the NFL. I’m just waiting for the challenge,” said Benjamin.

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Travis Benjamin Sees Increasing Role

The Rabbit, the fastest player on the Browns’ roster before a knee injury ended his 2013 season, is back and hopping faster than ever.
The Rabbit is slender Travis Benjamin, who earned his nickname as a legendary rabbit catcher in his hometown of Bell Grade, Fla. More on that in a few paragraphs.
Benjamin is the kick returner, punt returner and deep-throw threat on a Browns team that sorely is in need of a reliable wide receiver. Josh Gordon is that player now, but he is likely to be suspended for all or part of 2014 for violating the league’s substance abuse policy. Any day now, or maybe that should be any month, the league is expected to rule on Gordon’s appeal, which concluded Aug. 4.
Benjamin’s season was smoothly sailing along last year until a gruesome knee injury in Kansas City ended his season.
Brian Hoyer has received more attention for his torn ACL because he’s a quarterback, but Benjamin was injured returning a punt on Oct, 27, 24 days after Hoyer went down, and had to rehab just as relentlessly to be ready for the start of camp on July 25.
“I always feel like I can stretch the field, catch sharp balls, long balls.” Benjamin said on Aug. 13 after a 50-yard catch from Johnny Manziel on the right sideline highlighted a very productive practice. “I actually feel much faster than I was before. Mostly I focused on my lower body and getting it stronger knowing that I had an ACL surgery. I always feel like I’m the fastest guy in the NFL. I’m just waiting for the challenge.”
Speed and quickness were priceless traits for a young boy growing up in Belle Grade, where rabbit catching is a rite of passage. Benjamin said his older brother would tell tales of the sport when Travis was too young to chase Peter Cottontail.
Benjamin’s time of glory came when he reached middle school. The game was on when the sugarcane was burned and the rabbits started running. “The biggest trick is, as a group, surround the bushes and when the rabbits hear you coming they just rush out and go any way,” Benjamin said. “Knowing you have a circle, you’re able to catch it.
“Sometimes you dive. Sometimes you have a stick or something in your hand so when you see it you just have to jump on it. One day I caught 20, 25 rabbits. I was telling (teammates and coaches) the story and they didn’t believe it, so they’ve called me “Rabbit” ever since. Now I go to the grocery store and everybody calls me Rabbit.”
Rabbit is a delicacy in Bell Grade.
“Kind of tender, almost like pork chops,” Benjamin said.
Benjamin, a 2012 fourth-round draft pick from Miami, has six career kick returns for 222 yards — a 37.0 average. He has 25 career punt returns for a 16.7 average. He had an 86-yard kick return (no touchdown) plus a 93-yard punt return for a touchdown last year. He returned a punt 79 yards for a touchdown in 2012.
Benjamin caught 18 passes as a rookie. One was a 69-yard catch and run for a touchdown. He caught five passes last year and one of those covered 39 yards. He had one carry for 45 yards in 2013 and six in 2012. One of those went for 35 yards.
The Rabbit doesn’t get his hands on the ball often. But when he does, good things happen for the Browns.
“It’s hard to have a roster spot just for a guy and all he does is return,” Coach Mike Pettine said. “He has to be able to function on one side of the ball or the other. In Kyle’s offense over the years, he’s had that guy that can kind of take the roof off. I think that’s important.”
Benjamin is ready to tear that roof off, even if he’ll find no rabbits under it.

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Travis Benjamin will return kickoffs and punts

BEREA, Ohio – Browns coaches have given Travis Benjamin a couple days off during training camps as he returns from a serious knee injury.

But the special-teams standout known as The Rabbit will draw double duty on game days.

Special teams coach Chris Tabor said Benjamin will return punts and kickoffs, a multi task he was performing at midseason a year ago when he tore an anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee.

"He's obviously an explosive weapon," Tabor said. "We're in the business of winning games and he gives you the opportunity for a big play. You can't play this game scared and you can't coach this game scared."

Benjamin averaged 11.7 yards per punt return a season ago and set a franchise record with 179 yards on Oct. 3 against the Buffalo Bills. He was just starting to return kickoffs – three for a 48.7 yard average – at the time of his injury Oct. 27 against the Kansas City Chiefs. Tabor doesn't seem concerned about overextending Benjamin, who also will get some reps at receiver.

"(Against) Kansas City he went to spin another time (on a punt return) and it (was) a non-contact injury," Tabor said.   "That can happen at any time. He's healthy, he's running well, he's catching the ball well and to me he appears very fast."

First-round pick Justin Gilbert expressed interest in returning kicks, but coach Mike Pettine wants him focused on cornerback. He'll be used only on an "emergency" basis.

 Benjamin is anxious to test the surgically-repaired knee in a game. It's unclear if the coaches will use him Saturday against Detroit.

"It's going to be great," Benjamin said. "Knowing that I've been out of football for seven, eight months now. Just to get back in the swing of things, there's going to be butterflies for that first hit, just to get the jitterbugs out of the way."

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Travis Benjamin caps successful comeback with new title

BEREA — Browns wide receiver Travis Benjamin underwent reconstructive right knee surgery last Nov. 15, but his recovery is well ahead of schedule.

Special teams coach Chris Tabor has been so impressed with Benjamin’s comeback that he named him the team’s primary kickoff and punt returner Thursday.

“We’re in the business of winning games, and Travis gives you an opportunity for a big play,” Tabor said. “Obviously, he’s an explosive weapon, and if he’s our best player doing it, then we’re going to put him out there and do it.

“He’s done a great job already in training camp, which is why Travis is going to be our returner this season.”

Benjamin averaged 48.7 yards on three kickoff returns and 11.7 yards on 22 punt runbacks before disaster struck eight games into the 2013 season.
While returning a punt on Oct. 27, the speedster from Miami (Fla.) caught his right cleat in the turf during a spin move at Arrowhead Stadium, tearing his anterior cruciate ligament.

“It was a non-contact injury in Kansas City that can happen at any time,” Tabor lamented. “But Travis is healthy now, he’s running well, he’s catching the ball well. And to me, he still appears very fast.”

Benjamin also believes that is the case, which is why he was pleased to hear Tabor’s announcement. The 5-foot-10, 175-pounder has wanted to serve as Cleveland’s lone return man since being drafted in 2012, but this will mark his first opportunity to do so.

“It’s going to be great, knowing that I can be a big factor, that playmaker that gives us that extra yard we need to be a successful team,” said Benjamin, who has scored two touchdowns on 25 career punt returns.

“Just to get back in the swing of things, there are going to be butterflies on that first hit, so it will be nice to get the jitterbugs out of the way.”

Though the Browns play their preseason opener Saturday in Detroit, it’s likely that Benjamin won’t see significant time until the regular season begins Sept. 7 in Pittsburgh.

Tabor said he plans on using several other players to run back kicks against the Lions, preferring to save his most dangerous weapon for the Steelers.

“It makes no difference to me,” Benjamin said. “Whether it’s a kick return or punt return, it’s all about setting the offense up so we can go down and score touchdowns. As a unit, we’ll scheme it up and block it how Coach Tabor wants us to, and make the best out of it for the team.”

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A healthy Travis Benjamin could be significant for Cleveland Browns

There is no other position group quite like the Cleveland Browns' wide receivers. This competition should be named the Grand Canyon – it’s that wide open.  
Earlier this week my colleague Vic Carucci penned this column, analyzing the impact Nate Burleson, Miles Austin, Andrew Hawkins and Anthony Armstrong could have on the offense. This eclectic quartet of newcomers each carry a variety of traits to the field and locker room.

Burleson brings route running and an influential spirit; Austin is a professional and has size; Hawkins is slippery and a deep threat; Armstrong is a master of the playbook and lengthy.

In the shuffle of all the fresh faces, we all may have forgotten about a familiar one: Travis Benjamin. On Thursday, the University of Miami alum tweeted this:

For a range of reasons, a healthy Travis Benjamin is another thought-provoking piece to this puzzle.

Because of all the accolades and jaw dropping moments Josh Gordon produced during the 2013 season, some of the big plays from Benjamin have flown under the radar. He was only able to haul in five passes before his ACL injury, but those receptions went for 105 yards – good for 21 yards a catch. Benjamin can fly.

In terms of potential, Benjamin’s ceiling is higher than you think. He’s only 24 years old. And now he’ll be given the chance to provide evidence in practice that he's more than just a reliable return man. Kyle Shanahan will be looking for home run hitters in his offense to stretch the field.

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Travis Benjamin could go on training camp PUP

Browns WR/PR Travis Benjamin (knee) is a candidate to open training camp on the active/PUP list.

Benjamin wasn't cleared to participate in OTAs this week and is still recovering from November ACL surgery. He won't be ready to return until training camp at the earliest. Benjamin will compete for the Browns' punt return job when healthy.

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Travis Benjamin: (Knee) Sidelined Until Training Camp

Coach Mike Pettine said that the Browns plan to keep Benjamin (knee) sidelined until the start of training camp, Nate Ulrich of the Akron Beacon Journal reports.

Benjamin, who is bouncing back from a torn ACL that he suffered last season, will need to re-prove his health before re-emerging on the fantasy radar, but prior to his injury, the 2012 fourth-rounder had displayed some big play upside. The Browns added Nate Burleson and Andrew Hawkins to their wideout mix this offseason, which affords the team the luxury of easing Benjamin back in.

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Travis Benjamin has tear in knee

BEREA, Ohio -- Cleveland Browns punt returner Travis Benjamin will miss the rest of the season after because of a torn ACL in his knee.

Benjamin, also a wide receiver, hurt the knee on a return with 2:34 left in the third quarter of Sunday's 23-17 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.

Browns coach Rob Chudzinski said the injury took place when Benjamin planted and twisted as he headed upfield.

Benjamin averaged 11.7 yards per punt return and scored on a 79-yarder against the Buffalo Bills on Oct. 3, when he set a team record with 179 yards in returns.

"Travis obviously is a big part of what we do and has been in terms of return game," Chudzinski said Monday. "He's explosive and has the speed and ability to make a big play."

The Browns will turn to Davone Bess as their primary punt returner. Bess, though, had a crucial fumble in the loss to the Chiefs.

Chudzinski said another option would be to use Joe Haden, though he would prefer not to use the talented cornerback on special teams.

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Travis Benjamin to see time on kickoffs

While Cleveland Browns head coach Rob Chudzinski said Wednesday, Oct. 23, that RB Fozzy Whittaker will serve as the team's new kickoff return man, he added that WR Travis Benjamin will also see opportunities on kickoffs.

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Travis Benjamin runs for 45 yards on end around (GIF)


The Cleveland Browns found themselves down early to the Detroit Lions thanks to tight end Joseph Fauria’s one-yard touchdown reception, and odd, yet awesome, touchdown celebration.

The Cleveland Browns followed that score with a 3 and out, not what they were hoping for. The Browns defense helped them out on the following series holding the Lions to a 3 and out as well.

On the following series the Browns got the break they needed. On first and 10, the opening drive of the play, they called an end around to Travis Benjamin. He rumbled for 45 yards to help them get on the other side of the 50 yard line for the first time of the game.

A Lions defender chases him down the field out of nowhere because it looked like Benjamin’s wheels were going to be too much for the Lions defense to handle. He had a lead blocker as well.

Benjamin didn’t score but the play helped the Bengals score. The Bengals got to the 4 yard line and Chris Ogbonnaya took it in for a touchdown to tie the game.

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'Rabbit' followed trail from Glades to NFL

Like many players before him and many who will follow, Travis Benjamin has speed and ability borne from the muck and sugar fields near his home on the south shore of Lake Okeechobee.

Belle Glade is in the western end of Palm Beach County, in Florida, some 44 miles from Palm Beach itself. But Belle Glade and Pahokee, the tiny city next to it, are as far from the glitz and wealth of Worth Avenue as life can be.

The Glades, as the area is known, is home to sugar-cane fields and poverty. At one time the area was known as the AIDS capital of the country. At other times, it has been home to migrants who work in the fields during harvest time.

In the late fall, the cane stalks are burned, and smoke fills the sky. That’s when the locals head to the fields and partake in a right of passage that goes back decades. As the fields burn, the rabbits flee the fire and smoke, and young men chase the rabbits that escape from the burning fields. There they hone the speed, quickness and agility that are the hallmarks of future NFL players.

It sounds corny, but it happens. And the list of NFL players from the Glades is long -- and will continue to be as long as sports is a way out for so many in the area. Those who get out succeed. Those who don’t can be led to the same self-defeating cycle of drugs and crime that capture so many.

“It’s very important,” Benjamin said of the long-held practice of chasing rabbits. “It’s a great tradition.”

Benjamin remembers chasing the way the rabbits ran … stopping, starting, darting back and forth, all at rapid-fire pace. Benjamin says he caught 20 in one day, and he’s seen another gentleman catch 60 or 70.

“It’s nothing to it,” Benjamin said. “And once you go out there and you know the tendencies of what the rabbit's gonna do, and you know when they’re gonna come out, it’s a great feeling.”

It sounds as if he studied video the way the Cleveland Browns study opponents, but Benjamin studied something more important -- those who came before him.

“You catch 'em and sell 'em or catch 'em and eat 'em,” Benjamin said. “They kind of taste like pork chops to me.”

There’s something in the dark muck that produces the sugar cane, because it produces a number of football players greatly out of proportion to the combined populations of around 24,000. Among them are Fred Taylor, Santonio Holmes, Anquan Boldin and Andre Waters. When Inside Sports magazine was founded, one of the stories in one of the first issues was written by Gary Smith and detailed Rickey Jackson and Remuise Johnson, two Belle Glade stars, one of whom made it in the NFL, the other who went on to become a minister in Boynton Beach.

“Playing ball is a high priority for us,” Benjamin said.

Benjamin now has a nickname that takes him back to the Glades. The Browns have had a Flea, an Ice Cube, a Turkey and some Dawgs.

Now they have Travis Benjamin, the Rabbit.

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Travis Benjamin Named AFC Special Teams Player Of The Week

BEREA (92.3 The Fan) – Travis Benjamin woke up the Cleveland Browns last Thursday night with a pair of punt returns in the second quarter.

Wednesday he was named the AFC Special Teams Player of the Week.

Benjamin returned a punt 57 yards to set up a field goal before taking a 79-yard return the distance as he dodges Bills defenders en route to the end zone in the Browns’ 37-24 win over Buffalo.

Benjamin broke Eric Metcalf’s franchise record for punt return yardage in a game set in Oct. of 1993 with 179 punt return yards.

Benjamin is second in the league with both an average of 15.1 yards per punt return and 256 total punt-return yards. He is also the only NFL player with two 50-yard punt returns in a contest this season.

Benjamin is the second Browns player in the young season to win AFC Special Teams Player of the Week. Punter Spencer Lanning earned the honor in Week 3. This is the second AFC Special Teams Player of the Week award for Benjamin, who also won in Week 14 in 2012.

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Video: Travis Benjamin on the art of returning punts

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BEREA, Ohio -- Travis Benjamin set a Cleveland Browns single-game record for punt returns with 179 yards in seven attempts during Thursday night's game against the Bills.

Benjamin's longest return of the night was for 79 yards and a touchdown.  He also ran 57 yards on another.

On the season, Benjamin ranks second in the NFL in punt returns with 256 yards in 17 attempts.  Dexter McCluster leads with 285 yards in 21 attempts for the Chiefs.

"Once I get on the level where they compare me to Devin Hester, I'll feel like I'm the best," Benjamin said after practice Monday.

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Returns on Travis Benjamin trending up

One of the best returners in Cleveland Browns history left the team in the offseason.

As it turns out, the Browns may be using a faster, more elusive punt returner -- and in the end he may turn out to be just as good and maybe better than Josh Cribbs. Travis Benjamin has more quickness and pure speed than Cribbs, and when he gets any room to maneuver he is a threat.

Benjamin only returns punts -- he’s too frail to return kickoffs -- but Thursday night in the win over Buffalo he had a 79-yard return for a touchdown and a 57-yard return. Total, he set a team record with 179 yards in returns (the previous record was held by Eric Metcalf, who returned two punts for TDs in a win over Pittsburgh in October 1993).

“Fabulous,” coach Rob Chudzinski said after the game.

“Fastest man on the field,” tight end Jordan Cameron said.

All he needs is room to get going. And Bills punter Shawn Powell gave Benjamin room plenty of times. His kicks were long -- 45.5 yards -- but they were low, and he kept outkicking the coverage (sort of like I did with my wife). To the point that Buffalo released Powell the day after the game.

“It’s only a matter of time in this league before you get exposed,” Bills coach Doug Marrone said.

Benjamin has room to grow. He goes through games where he has trouble catching the ball, or does little on returns. He’s also so small that there is a constant risk of being injured.

Too, on the 59-yard return he let Powell shove him out of bounds. The cardinal sin for a returner is being stopped by the punter. Benjamin let it happen on the first, but on the second he ran through the tackle.

The key to any success is consistency, and Benjamin had a strong preseason but averaged just 7.7 yards per return in the first four games.

He provides hope with this game.

Letting Cribbs go was the right decision by the new Browns regime -- even though it was disappointing for the fans, it was time.

Counting on Benjamin was a risk. A year ago he looked small and injury prone and too inconsistent to play on offense. There’s a lot of guys who try to rely on pure speed who don’t succeed in football.

But Benjamin made a statement about his value against the Bills.

He just needs to continue what he started.

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GIF: Travis Benjamin's 79-yard punt return for a TD


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Travis Benjamin sets Browns punt return record

With starting quarterback Brian Hoyer out with a knee injury, the Cleveland Browns got a boost from punt returner Travis Benjamin Thursday night against the Buffalo Bills.

Benjamin set a Browns’ franchise record with 179 yards on punt returns against the Bills. With the game tied at 10-10 late in the second quarter against Buffalo, Benjamin returned a punt from Shawn Powell 79 yards for a touchdown to give the Browns a lead before halftime.

Benjamin broke the prior record of 166 yards on returns set by Eric Metcalf against the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1993. Benjamin had seven returns against the Bills Thursday and averaged 25.6 yards per attempt. Metcalf set his record on just two returns against the Steelers as he returned both punts for touchdowns – 91 yards and 75 yards, respectively.

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Travis Benjamin mooned stadium after pants malfunction

Cleveland Browns wide receiver Travis Benjamin is the latest NFL player to suffer a wardrobe malfunction while on the field.

Two weeks ago it was Kansas City Chiefs defensive lineman Tyson Jackson whose pants fell down during a game, and this week it was Benjamin suffering the same fate.

Uncensored photo plus a GIF of when it happened is below:



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Week 2 NFL proCane Photos

proCane Texans WR Andre Johnson (80)
Bears proCane KR Devin Hester (23)
proCane Falcons P Mat Bosher
proCane Colts WR Reggie Wayne (87)
proCane Browns WR Travis Benjamin (80)
proCane Cardinals DE Calais Campbell (93)

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Travis Benjamin expects to return kickoffs vs. Miami

BEREA, Ohio -- Travis Benjamin is prepared for triple duty against the Dolphins.

The Browns' second-year receiver revealed Thursday that he expects to return kickoffs in addition to his punt return chores and sharing time with receiver Davone Bess in place of Josh Gordon.

"I don't know about the opening kick, but hopefully I'll be back there,'' said Benjamin. "Right now we're going through the schemes of the kickoff the Dolphins have. It depends on what they come out with.''

Johnson Bademosi is listed first on the depth chart at kick returner, but coach Rob Chudzinski said Benjamin and Buster Skrine, who was added to the injury report Thursday with a shoulder injury and was limited, can also handle the chore. New running backs Bobby Rainey and Dennis Johnson have also been working there.

"I'm in great shape,'' said Benjamin, a diminutive 5-10, 175. "I know I can return kickoffs, punts and play offense. I'm just ready to go out there and play.''

He said he didn't know if he'd be the first man up on kickoff returns. He returned a punt 91 yards for a TD in preseason and took one back a team-record 93 yards last season.

"It's really not a first-team (thing),'' he said. "It's kind of a scheme thing, knowing how they kick the ball, where the placement of the ball is. We'll just go in there and figure out what type of scheme they're in and we'll just rotate in.''

He said the three-pronged role is not too much for him, and that he doesn't let his size be a factor.

"I've done it plenty of times before,'' he said.

As a senior at the University of Miami, Benjamin returned 25 kickoffs for 592 yards and a 23.7-yard average. He returned 11 punts for 121 yards that year and caught 41 passes for 609 yards and three touchdowns.

The Browns kept Benjamin largely off the grid during preseason, but they'll be counting on him and Bess to make the kind of big plays that Gordon would make if he weren't suspended two games.

"They have to,'' said offensive coordinator Norv Turner. "We've worked on all the things that we’re going to do with them and they’ve been practicing at a high level. It's been great to have Davone back. He not only missed those games, he missed quite a bit of practice. He's a veteran player, he can handle it. It's still making sure he’s on the same page with Brandon (Weeden). Those guys just have to step up and make the plays that are there for them.''

Benjamin, one of the two fastest Browns along with Skrine, said he doesn't think any of the Dolphins' corners could beat him in a footrace.

"I wouldn't say that,'' he said. "(But) they have some pretty quick guys and it's all about technique and all about the little things.''

He said he and Bess are excited to fill in for Gordon.

"Yes, it's kind of the 'next man up' mentality,'' he said. "We know when the ball comes our way, just take advantage of the opportunity. Josh is a great player. He's a big target for us. We just have to get him out of the gameplan and me and Davone have to be the next man up to go and play well.''

He said it's not imperative to hit a big play early.

"No, not really,'' he said. "We don't want to play into their advantage. We just want to go out there and play our football, whether it's a deep one early, late or in the middle.''

He said he's most improved in route-running since his rookie year, when he caught 18 balls for 298 yards and two TDs, including a long of 69.

"(It's) getting in and out of my breaks because of my speed and going out there and keeping my advantage on the field,'' he said.

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Travis Benjamin will make steady leap

Chris Pokorny on Dawgs By Nature talks about Travis Benjamin making the biggest jump in improvement this season.

"Although I feel quarterback Brandon Weeden will make steady improvements in his second year, I'm going with wide receiver Travis Benjamin. He had just 18 catches for 298 yards in 2012, but should be given a lot more opportunities to use his speed to stretch the field in Norv Turner's offensive system. More important, though, will be his contributions as a punt returner.

Benjamin's success rate in his recent punt return attempts is simply remarkable. When he got one opportunity late last season to return a punt, he took it back 93 yards for a touchdown. In the first preseason game this year, he had a 91-yard punt return for a touchdown. In the second preseason game, he had another punt return for a touchdown (which was nullified by an iffy penalty). Benjamin could very well be one of the league's fastest players, and it won't be long before teams are trying to angle the ball away from him. He could really help the offense out in terms of field position in 2013."

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Travis Benjamin wants, expects to return kickoffs in addition to punts

BEREA – The broken fibula of running back Dion Lewis created a hole at kickoff returner. Travis Benjamin is ready to fill it. Benjamin, already slotted to return punts and be the fourth receiver, said Thursday he wants and expects to return kickoffs when the season opens Sept. 8 against Miami. “Yes, I’m very excited,” he said. Benjamin is only 5-foot-10, 175 pounds but said he’s not worried about wearing himself thin or the extra punishment possible on kickoff returns.

“Not at all,” he said. “It’s extra plays for me.” Benjamin returned three kickoffs as a rookie in 2012, averaging 25.3. He averaged 49.7 yards with a touchdown on three punt returns. He already has a punt return for a touchdown and another called back by penalty in two preseason games. The other candidates to return kickoffs are safety Johnson Bademosi and cornerback Buster Skrine.

“I feel comfortable that we have Travis,” coach Rob Chudzinski said. “I would really like to see the other guys, including Bademosi. Buster Skrine has done it before and has been effective, as well.” Chudzinski admits Benjamin would be susceptible to bigger hits on kickoffs, but isn’t afraid to use him there. “We are going to try to put the best guys out on the field in those situations to go win the game,” he said.

“If Travis happens to be the best guy in that situation, we will do it at that time.” “You can get hit harder on offense,” Benjamin said. Bademosi said he has a little experience returning kicks and is trying to emulate the vision, catching and explosion through gaps of Joshua Cribbs, who left in free agency. “I’m getting better every day,” Bademosi said.

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So far, Benjamin has been money in the bank

BEREA — Travis Benjamin made the play of the game in the preseason opener vs. the St. Louis Rams. He sprinted across the field, turned the corner and was gone — untouched — on a 91-yard punt return for a touchdown.

On Thursday against the Lions, he had an 82-yard return for a touchdown called back by a holding penalty.

Benjamin’s bursts reminded everyone — even Joshua Cribbs’ biggest fans — of the impact he can have in the return game.

His work at receiver throughout the offseason and in training camp has alerted anyone who’s paid attention that he’s not a one-trick pony.

“He’s a guy who busts his (butt) and works hard and he wants to be more than a punt returner — and he is,” receivers coach Scott Turner said. “He’s a receiver and he’s a guy who’s going to contribute and play a large role in our offense.”

That’s music to Benjamin’s ears.

“I feel like with my speed and my talent, either in special teams or whenever I get on the field, I can make a difference,” he said.

Benjamin (5-foot-10, 175 pounds) is a leading candidate for most-improved player from 2012. He’s among the leaders in practice catches and hasn’t dropped many. A practice doesn’t go by without Benjamin doing something worthy of a tweet or jot in the notebook.

“He has gotten a lot better,” said coach Rob Chudzinski, who went to the University of Miami two decades before Benjamin. “He’s using his speed better in his routes. As opposed to last year, where he was just a guy that ran deep, this year up to this point he has shown ability to run the shorter routes as well and get in and out of breaks really well.”

With 4.3-second speed in the 40-yard dash, Benjamin will always have the ability to sprint by the cornerback and safety. His two receiving touchdowns as a rookie last year — he added a 93-yard punt return for a score — came on 22- and 69-yard catches from Brandon Weeden. He averaged 16.6 yards on 18 catches in 14 games, including three starts.

The growth in Benjamin’s game this season is most evident in the intermediate routes. The 15-yard out from Weeden has become almost unstoppable, and the 12-yard in has also been effective.

“There’s plenty of targets out there but him knowing my speed and my ability to get open quicker and faster, I think that’s why he comes to me,” Benjamin said.
He is always a threat to blow by the cornerback, which opens up the playbook. His improved route running makes the shorter patterns so productive.

“The deep, moderate type of routes are good,” Turner said. “But a guy like him, he can run them all, he can get in and out of things pretty well, so he’s encouraging.

“I was excited about him when I saw from him on film because of his ability to run. I felt like with some maturity there was some more there.”

Benjamin credits his offseason workouts in Boca Raton, Fla., with Anquan Boldin and other NFL receivers for helping his routes. Boldin, 32, has never been a blazer but has made a Pro Bowl career with the ability to get open.

His best advice?

“Stay focused. Be crafty with your technique,” Benjamin said. “Be crafty in your routes because only you know where you’re going on the field in the route running.”

Closer to home, he has advisers in Greg Little and veteran slot receiver Davone Bess.

“It’s just more crisp,” Little said of Benjamin’s route running this year. “Travis is so fast and sometimes when he cuts it’s rounded.

“Travis’ top speed is obviously here (putting his hand above his head), so you don’t have to go top speed. Go one or two notches under that and still you’re playing at a high level, and guys know you’re fast and obviously are going to be aware of that when you’re coming off the ball.”

Benjamin will need to come out of the gate quickly. Starter Josh Gordon is suspended for the first two games, so Benjamin will likely slide into his spot. When everyone’s available, Benjamin is the fourth receiver behind Gordon, Little and Bess.

“I’m going to go into Game 1 vs. the Dolphins looking to come out with a great game, just to fill in for Josh,” Benjamin said. “And through Game 2 and Game 3 just play the best I can.”

“We will use him as a receiver, whether Josh is there or not,” Chudzinski said. “He’s definitely somebody we want to take advantage of and find a role for. He will be more important in those first couple games.”

Through limited time in two preseason games, Benjamin has two catches for 21 yards. The spectacular has shown up on his returns, even eliciting a congratulatory text from Cribbs, Cleveland’s kick returner from 2005-12.

“Josh is a great person to me,” Benjamin said. “He was a great mentor while he was here in Cleveland. By watching him and learning the things he did, it’s coming along into my game. He always gave me great advice.”

Cribbs has 40 pounds of muscle on Benjamin and uses his strength to break tackles and into the clear. Benjamin uses his speed to run to daylight.

He’s not flashy and speaks softly, but his ego is obvious when discussing his speed. He ranks himself the fastest guy on the team and among the top five in the league, joining Eagles receiver DeSean Jackson and Titans running back Chris Johnson.

When he’s running free, nobody can catch him.

“I think if I get the edge on you, it’s me all the way,” Benjamin said.

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Travis Benjamin is known for speed, but he’s also becoming more complete receiver

BEREA: Wide receiver Travis Benjamin believes he’s the fastest player on the Browns’ roster.

But where does his speed rank among all NFL players?

“Top five,” Benjamin, who ran the 40-yard dash in 4.26 seconds the summer before his junior season at the University of Miami, said without hesitation.

The 5-foot-10, 175-pound Benjamin certainly looked like one of the league’s quickest athletes as he turned the corner and left the St. Louis Rams in his dust en route to a 91-yard punt return for a touchdown Thursday night in the preseason opener at FirstEnergy Stadium. The Browns won 27-19, and with Benjamin’s touchdown early in the second quarter, the starters outscored the Rams 17-0 before taking the rest of the game off.

Linebacker James-Michael Johnson made the first block to spring the return, and cornerback Trevin Wade delivered the last one to ensure Benjamin would reach the end zone untouched. He’ll also look to blaze by the Detroit Lions when the Browns host them Thursday night in the second exhibition game.

“There were some great blocks out there, and once I knew JMJ had sealed the edge off for me, I knew it was going to be a touchdown,” said Benjamin, a fourth-round pick in last year’s draft. … “I think if I get the edge on you, it’s me all the way.”

Benjamin is filling Josh Cribbs’ big shoes as the primary punt returner for the Browns. Cribbs gave Benjamin him some love on Twitter after his big play against the Rams.

“Congrats son!!!” Cribbs, who signed with the Oakland Raiders in the offseson, wrote on Twitter. “I heard about the return. Keep it going all season.”

Benjamin said Cribbs, a three-time Pro Bowler and special-teams force who played for the Browns the past eight seasons, took him under his wing last year.

“Josh is a great person to me,” said Benjamin, who had a 93-yard punt return for a touchdown as a rookie. “He was a great mentor while he was here in Cleveland. By watching him and learning the things he did, it’s coming along into my game. … He’d tell me what to watch for [like] how to read the punter’s foot. So he always gave me great advice.”

Benjamin is not only aiming to contribute as a dynamic returner, but also as a receiver. He got started on that path by catching a pass for 12 yards against Rams. Last season, he played 14 games and tallied 18 catches for 298 yards and two touchdowns. In June, quarterback Brandon Weeden estimated that Benjamin had more catches during spring practices than any other receiver on the team.

“He has gotten a lot better,” Browns coach Rob Chudzinski said. “He’s using his speed better in his routes. As opposed to last year, where he was just a guy that ran deep, this year up to this point, he has shown ability to run the shorter routes as well and get in and out of breaks really well.”

Benjamin polished his route running this offseason with San Francisco 49ers veteran receiver Anquan Boldin. They were among the NFL players who worked out under the guidance of trainer Tony Villani in Boca Raton, Fla.

For the record, Browns cornerback Buster Skrine ran the 40-yard dash in 4.22 seconds before his junior season at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and still contends he’s a bit faster than Benjamin. Skrine, though, also gives Benjamin credit for evolving into a more complete receiver.

“His routes have gotten a lot better,” Skrine said. “Everybody knew he was a deep threat the first year he came in, but this year he’s an intermediate threat, too. He spent a lot of time in the offseason running routes, and he’s doing a good job of it.

“He’s super dangerous ’cause he’ll catch the ball and run away from you if you’re not in the right spot. As ya’ll saw on Thursday, he did that on a punt return. He’s been doing it on intermediate routes, too, in practice.”

The Browns need Benjamin to step up in his second professional season, especially because the NFL has suspended their No. 1 wide receiver, Josh Gordon, for the first two games of the regular season for violating its substance-abuse policy. Gordon blamed prescription cough medicine that contained codeine, a substance banned by the league, for triggering a failed drug test.

“We will use [Benjamin] as a receiver whether Josh is there or not during the course of the season,” Chudzinski said. “He’s a guy with a unique skill set with the speed that he has. He’s definitely somebody we want to take advantage of and find a role for. He will be more important in those first couple games.”

Benjamin is on track join Greg Little and Davone Bess as the team’s top-three receivers during Gordon’s absence. He is determined to make the most of the opportunity, beginning with the Sept. 8 regular-season opener against the Miami Dolphins.

“I’m going to go into Game 1 versus the Dolphins looking to come out with a great game, just to fill in for Josh,” Benjamin said. … “I feel like with my speed and my talent, either in special teams or whenever I get on the field, I can make a difference.”

Some believe Benjamin’s slight build could lead to issues with ball security and durability, though he isn’t buying into the skepticism.

“Size doesn’t matter,” Benjamin said. … “I made it to the NFL. … I’ve been criticized about my size all my life, but I’m still here.”

And if Benjamin continues to grow as a receiver and use his speed to crush opponents, he’ll have a bright future at the sport’s highest level.

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VIDEO: Travis Benjamin sprinting to starring roles on punt returns and offense

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BEREA, Ohio -- Now you see him, now you don't.

Blink, sneeze or look down at your phone and you just might miss Browns receiver Travis Benjamin blazing up the field untouched into the end zone, like he did Thursday night against the Rams on his 91-yard punt return.

"I'm still young in my coaching career, but I've never coached a guy that can run like Travis,'' said receivers coach Scott Turner, Norv's son. "I don't think I can really compare him to anyone.''

They didn't call Benjamin 'The Belle Glade Blur' back at his Florida high school for nothing. He rocked the 40-yard dash in 4.36 at the NFL Combine and has run it in 4.26. Even in the NFL, no one can catch him from behind.

"He’s got stupid speed,'' said Brandon Weeden after the Rams game. "It’s nice throwing to him when we get him on a (go route) down the sideline, but you’ve got to let it rip ‘cause he can run. He’s a big-play threat, so you love it. That’s a spark. He's a guy that's able to break one at anytime.''

Benjamin, the Browns' fourth-round pick out of Miami in 2012, did just that again Sunday in practice when he turned on the jets, sped past Trevin Wade and hauled in a 50-yard touchdown pass from Weeden.

"I think if I get the edge on you, it's me all the way,'' said Benjamin.

He ranks himself one of the top five fastest players in the league, along with the Eagles' DeSean Jackson and the Titans' Chris Johnson. After that, he ran out of names.

Question is, can Benjamin's diminutive frame (5-10, 175) withstand the rigors of the NFL, especially if he's returning punts and also seeing increased action on offense? A couple of minutes in his presence and you'd swear he could be suiting up next Friday night for the Belle Glade Raiders again.

"I don't worry about him,'' said Turner. "He's done a great job over the course of his career both in college and last year in the NFL just knowing how to protect himself. He's a smart player, he has good spatial awareness, so he's able to get down when he needs to get down. You don't see alot of guys get a real solid shot on him. Obviously he's skinny but he knows how to play in his body.''

Besides, he's like Plastic Man, extending his limbs to snare the ball and twisting his body to avoid the big hit.

"If you look at the way his body's put together, he's got really long arms and really long legs and he can really stretch them, so he actually plays a lot bigger than he is,'' said Turner. "His catching radius is bigger than most guys of his height and he's able to stretch the field with his speed and stride length.''

While watching film of Benjamin's punt return, Turner was struck by how much ground Benjamin covered with every step.

"He and Josh (Gordon) have the longest stride length of the receivers, although Josh's is a little longer,'' he said.

And you won't find Turner following behind Benjamin in the cafeteria, urging him to plop another serving of fettucine Alfredo on his plate.

"Yeah, you'd like him to gain weight, but you definitely don't want him to lose any speed,'' said Turner. "That's what makes him the good player that he is. I leave that up to (strength and conditioning coach) Brad Rolle.''

Turner was excited about the raw Benjamin he saw on film last season and couldn't wait to start coaching him up.

"He's really exceeded my expectations and it's based moreso on what type of person he is as a worker and as a professional,'' said Turner. "He's a smart guy and he focuses in meetings and takes notes and then on the field he really works on the techniques that I'm coaching or my dad's coaching and he's shown improvement throuhgout the Spring. Coming back here in camp, he gets better every day and it's due to the way he approaches it and the way he takes coaching.''

Coach Rob Chudzinski has been impressed with Benjamin's improved route running.

"He's gotten a lot better,'' said Chudzinski. "He’s using his speed better in his routes. As opposed to last year, where he was just a guy that ran deep, this year he's shown ability to run the shorter routes as well and get in and out of breaks really well.”

The Browns need Benjamin to keep progressing by leaps and bounds, because he'll be relied on heavily in the first two games when Gordon is out on suspension for his failed codeine test. Benjamin will most likely start on the outside opposite Greg Little in those first two contests against Miami and Baltimore.
"Travis is going to have a role in this offense, I believe, throughout the whole season,'' said Turner. "But we're going to have a guy down the first two games, so everybody's going to have to step up, and part of that's going to be on Travis for sure.''

Chudzinski and Turner don't expect the dual role of punt returner and receiver to be a problem.

"A guy like Travis, he can play at a high level for a long period of time,'' said Turner. "He's got really good stamina and he can run.''

Perhaps the highest compliment Benjamin received Thursday night after the punt return was the shoutout from his predecessor, Josh Cribbs, on twitter.

"He was a great mentor while he was here in Cleveland,'' said Benjamin. "By watching him and learning the things he did, it's coming along into my game. Even if both of us were back there [returning], he'd tell me what to watch for (like) how to read the punter's foot.''

But there's one thing Cribbs couldn't teach him: how to run like the wind.

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The Browns are expected to start Travis Benjamin at X receiver

The Browns are expected to start Travis Benjamin at X receiver during Josh Gordon's two-game suspension.

Greg Little is the Z receiver, and Davone Bess plays in the slot. Benjamin has sub-4.4 jets and big-play ability, averaging 16.6 yards on 18 receptions as a rookie. He's still unlikely to be a fantasy-viable early-season producer. We wouldn't be surprised if TE Jordan Cameron emerged as Cleveland's leading pass catcher in the first two games, building momentum for a breakout year.

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Travis Benjamin, Bess add speed to receiver corps

Over the next few weeks, will take a look at the 2013 Browns, position-by-position. Today’s spotlight is on the wide receivers.

When the Cleveland Browns looked to add speed to their wide-receiver corps in 2012, they selected Travis Benjamin on the third day of the 2012 NFL Draft and Josh Gordon -- three months later -- in the Supplemental Draft.

This year, they made a draft-weekend trade with the Miami Dolphins that brought five-year veteran Davone Bess to the Browns.

“They’re playing fast,” quarterback Brandon Weeden said of the receivers after minicamp. “The guys outside, tight ends, backs, everybody is really, really playing fast. They’re running routes full-speed and it’s tough. It’s tough on those safeties and corners who are trying to cover them. When you’re playing fast and you know where they’re going and they don’t, it’s to our advantage. I’m pleased with their play.”

Last fall, Benjamin caught 18 passes for 298 yards with two touchdowns, while Gordon finished third on the team with 50 receptions. He also led the team with 805 yards receiving and five touchdowns.

Gordon and Benjamin displayed that speed last season, as each player was on the receiving end of two of the longest touchdowns ever thrown by a Browns rookie quarterback. Weeden completed a 71-yard touchdown pass to Gordon at the New York Giants on Oct. 7, and added the 69-yard score to Benjamin on Dec. 16 against the Washington Redskins.

Key Number:
Two, the amount of times Greg Little has led the Browns in receptions since joining the team in the 2011 NFL Draft.

In 2012, Little led the Browns with 53 receptions, which he turned into 647 yards and four touchdowns.

While his receptions and yards slightly declined last season, Little increased his average yards per reception to 12.2 after it stood at 11.6 during his rookie season. Little also doubled his touchdowns total from his first year in the NFL.

Player to Watch:
The 5-foot-10, 193-pound Bess brings to Cleveland five years of experience and is coming off of a solid 2012 season in which he caught 61 passes for 778 yards, for a career-best average of 12.8 yards per reception, one touchdown and 38 first downs.

The Oakland, Calif., native whom the Dolphins signed as a rookie free agent after the 2008 NFL Draft, has been on the receiving end of 321 passes, and has turned those receptions into 3,447 yards, 12 touchdowns and 183 first downs.

Bess’ most productive season came in 2010, when he caught 79 passes for 820 yards and five touchdowns.

“He brings consistency,” Weeden said. “He doesn’t make many mistakes. If he’s reading routes or he’s doing certain things, he doesn’t make too many mistakes. He’s a very solid player. He’s a pro. The guy knows how to prepare. He is the ultimate pro, and I think that’s starting to rub off on everyone in the locker room, not just the receivers. He goes about his business the right way, and I commend him for it.”

Benjamin added, “It’s great learning. From coming in early, watching things he does, watching film, how he takes notes, he makes sure if you’re in the huddle with him or he’s in the game plan, he’ll look at you like, ‘You’ve got this route, right here.’ He’s just always (good) with communication.”

Travis Benjamin & Deonte Thompson Football Camp: Sean Spence

Travis Benjamin & Deonte Thompson Football Camp: Sean Spence from Generation Nexxt Youth Sports Nt on Vimeo.

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Travis Benjamin aims to 'be better than last year'

Travis Benjamin is looking to improve upon a rookie season in which he caught 18 passes and returned one punt for a touchdown.

Travis Benjamin’s rookie highlight with the Cleveland Browns last season was a franchise-record, 93-yard punt return for a touchdown in a 30-7 win over the Kansas City Chiefs on Dec. 9.

Now, the wide receiver/returner has his sights set on higher goals.

After 10 weeks of offseason workouts, Benjamin is focused on being “better than last year.”

“(I want) to be more productive, to be involved in the offense and special teams and to come out and have a great season,” Benjamin told “I worked on my route-running and continuing to run full speed.

“I want to be healthy coming into training camp, getting training camp over, start the season and look forward to a great season for the Cleveland Browns.”

Benjamin, who caught 18 passes for 298 yards and two touchdowns (including a 69-yard score in a loss to the Washington Redskins Dec. 16), said he likes everything about the Browns’ offense under new coordinator Norv Turner and wide receivers coach Scott Turner.

“From the runs to the passes to the play-action to the gimmicks and gadgets they’ve got, everything is just well played out,” Benjamin said. “I really see myself doing big things in the offense.

“It’s a great tandem. Those guys are some great guys, and (Scott’s) father is so (much) like a legend, and he has his son. I’m pretty sure he grew up watching his father, so it kind of soaked into him like a sponge. They’re doing a great job.”

Like Benjamin for the Turners, quarterback Brandon Weeden had similar praise for the 5-foot-10, 175-pound receiver.

“Travis had at least as many catches, if not more, than anybody in camp,” Weeden said. “His route-running is phenomenal, and probably because he’s so fast. Guys have to honor him running behind them, so he’s able to get in and out of breaks so well. In-breaking routes or out-breaking routes, he’s really found a knack of getting separated and gives me a chance to complete some balls. He’s had a lot of catches this camp, and he stuck out.”

Within the offense is not the only place Benjamin is looking to stand out in 2013.

Following the departure of record-setting kick and punt returner Joshua Cribbs in free agency, Benjamin could see an increased role on special teams. He returned three kicks for 76 yards and three punts for 149 yards, including the 93-yard touchdown, last fall.

“When guys leave, certain guys have to stand up,” Benjamin said. “I’m the starting punt returner right now, so I’ve just got to get that punt return and everybody else on the same page.

“It’s a great position. It puts me in a position where I can show my skills because, on punt return, it’s all about speed and quickness. You see a hole, you see where you’ve got to go, you just hit it and it will be a big thing. Usually, if you make three or four guys miss, you usually get a touchdown.”

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Travis Benjamin Showing Great Improvement

BEREA – Davone Bess and Travis Benjamin – the “undersized” receivers – went the six offseason practices open to the media without a dropped pass of note.

Speed has never been an issue for Benjamin (5-10, 175), but he improved his route-running and catching since his rookie season. Weeden said Benjamin may have led the team in receptions in the 16 offseason practices, and he finished with two long completions from Weeden on Thursday.

“His route-running is phenomenal, probably because he’s so fast,” Weeden said. “Guys have to honor him running by them. He’s been getting in and out of breaks so well.

“Whether it’s in-breaking routes or out-breaking routes, he’s really found a knack of getting separation and giving me a chance to complete some balls. He’s had a lot of catches this camp. He’s stuck out.”

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Travis Benjamin displaying sure hands

Cleveland Browns WR Travis Benjamin has impressed the coaching staff with his sure hands this offseason. He averaged 16.6 yards per reception in 2012, and his speed has offensive coordinator Norv Turner trying to figure out how to take advantage of Benjamin's speed.

Fantasy Tip: Benjamin should be left for your waiver wire in fantasy football drafts, unless he drastically moves up the depth chart.

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Browns Confident in Travis Benjamin

The Cleveland Browns feel confident WR Travis Benjamin and RB Dion Lewis can handle the return duties, which is why fan favorite WR Joshua Cribbs (Raiders) (knee) was allowed to leave via free agency without much effort to re-sign him. Plus, Cribbs is 30, and there are concerns about his knee.

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PHOTO: Travis Benjamin at Browns Camp


Cleveland Browns wide receiver Travis Benjamin catches a pass during an off-season workout at the NFL football team's practice facility in Berea, Ohio Thursday, May 16, 2013. (AP Photo/Mark Duncan)

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Browns high on Travis Benjamin for punt returns

The new Browns regime believes second-year WR Travis Benjamin is capable of becoming an "outstanding" punt returner.

This probably explains Cleveland's complete unwillingness to try to re-sign Josh Cribbs. Benjamin, the 100th pick in last year's draft, possesses 4.36 wheels and broke off a 93-yard punt return touchdown as a rookie despite seeing only three punt return chances all season. In addition to situational deep threat duties on offense, Benjamin will replace Cribbs as the Browns' return specialist.

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proCanes Support Men's Basketball Team vs GT


Thank you to Harry Rothwell @mrallcanes for sending us this photo of proCanes: Lamar Miller Dolphins, DeMarcus Van Dyke Steelers, Allen Bailey Chiefs, Sean Spence Steelers, Travis Benjamin Browns, Brandon Harris Texans.

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Travis Benjamin expected to return punts

Cleveland Browns WR Travis Benjamin is expected to serve as the team's punt return man in 2013.

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proCanes Players of Week 15

Co-Offensive Players of the Week:

Leonard Hankerson: proCane Redskins WR Leonard Hankerson caught two passes for 56 yards with two touchdowns in the Redskins' Week 15 win over the Browns. Hankerson made the most of his two targets. His first score came when he blew past Sheldon Brown and Kirk Cousins threaded the needle between three Browns for a 54-yard score in the first quarter. His second touchdown came on a simple goal-line bootleg from Cousins. Don't chase these plays as Hankerson continues to rotate with Josh Morgan opposite No. 1 target Pierre Garcon.

Andre Johnson: proCane Texans WR Andre Johnson caught 11 balls for 151 yards and a touchdown as the Texans defeated the Colts 29-17 in Week 15.
He was targeted 13 times, a game high on either side of the ball. Johnson was truly dominant against Colts top CB Vontae Davis, consistently winning 50:50 balls in the air and scoring from three yards out on a rub route deep in the red zone. Johnson has reasserted himself at age 31 as a top-five NFL receiver and likely future Hall of Famer. The past eight games have been the most productive stretch of Johnson's career, averaging 8.4 catches and 119.6 yards per game. He needs just seven receptions and 140 yards to join Marvin Harrison as the only receivers with at least 100 catches and 1,500 yards in three seasons. Andre Johnson also topped 11,000 career receiving yards this week

Honorable Mention: Travis Benjamin WR Browns, Jimmy Graham TE Saints, Frank Gore RB 49ers.

Defensive Players of Week:

Calais Campbell: proCane Cardinals DE Calais Campbell in his first game back from a calf injury played his best all-around game since Week 2 at New England despite still dealing with the lingering effects of a calf injury that sidelined him for a month. He wasn’t in pain while he recorded eight tackles, four for losses, a sack, a quarterback hurry and a pass deflection, but his calf wasn’t completely healed either.
Honorable Mention: Sam Shields DB Packers

Special Teams Player of the Week:

Matt Bosher:
proCane Falcons P Matt Bosher continued his great 2nd season though this week he only had two punts but made them count. Bosher’s two punts totaled 100 yards with a long of 61 yards, and average of 50 yards and one touchback.

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Five questions with Cleveland Browns receiver Travis Benjamin

Q: Everyone talks about your speed. What's the fastest you've ever run?
A: In college I went 4.26 (in the 40-yard dash). In track, I've got the indoor record at Miami in the 60-meter, I ran that in 6.69.

Q: Can you get faster?
A: I'm always training on my speed, so come off-season, I probably can knock a couple more hundredths off.

Q: Have you ever lost a race to anyone who's challenged you?
A: I've never lost to a challenger. But in college there are much faster guys than me. I never thought about (quitting football for) track. Once track was over every year, I was right back to football.

Q: Rumor has it that you haven't cut your hair since 8th grade. True? If so, why?
A: It's true. I just always wanted dreads when I was growing up because my older brother had dreads. So since 8th grade, I've had the dreads. I just cut a few inches off every year so it doesn't look bad. My brother's is down to his waist, he's 25. But it would be very difficult to play with that.

Q: Your mom is a police office in Florida. How did that affect your upbringing?
A: It's just discipline. Knowing that I always had respect for her and everything she did. If she says something one time, I do it.

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proCanes Players of Week 14

Offensive Player of the Week:

Reggie Wayne: proCane Colts WR Reggie Wayne caught six passes for 64 yards and a touchdown in Sunday's Week 14, 27-23 win over the Titans. Wayne was targeted 10 times on the afternoon and caught his touchdown pass from four yards out to get the Colts on the board in the first quarter. Wayne extended his NFL record 61 game streak of having 3 or more receptions.

Honorable Mention: Greg Olsen

Co-Defensive Players of Week:

Sam Shields: proCane Packers DB Sam Shields in his first game back from a high-ankle sprain that kept him out nearly two months regained his old spot by the second quarter. Shields returned with four tackles and an interception in Sunday's win over the Lions. Shields was targeted 5 times and only allowed one completion.

Antrel Rolle: proCane New York Giants DB Antrel Rolle recorded a fumble recovery and forced fumble on successive drives, adding in six tackles in a stout defensive performance. Through Week 14, Rolle ranks first on the team in solo tackles (61) and second on the team in total tackles (79).
Honorable Mention: Vince Wilfork DL New England Patriots finished the game with 4 tackles, 1 pass deflection, 1 sack, 1 tackle for loss and numerous plays that don’t show up on the stat sheet.

Special Teams Player of the Week:

Travis Benjamin:
proCane Browns WR Travis Benjamin proved to provide the momentum the Browns needed to run away with their 30-7 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs. Benjamin turned in a record-setting punt return when he ran 93 yards for a touchdown to open the second quarter. It was Benjamin’s first NFL punt return for a TD which also earned him AFC Special Teams Player of the Week honors. Benjamin's touchdown was the first on a punt return for a Cleveland rookie since 1967, and the first for any returner not named Josh Cribbs since 2005. Adding the longest punt return in franchise history to his resume, the Belle Glade, Fla., native now has over 400 all-purpose yards in his first season, including 296 on punt and kick returns.

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Travis Benjamin is the AFC special teams player of the week

Everything’s coming up roses for the Browns all of a sudden.

They’ve won three straight games, the first time they’ve strung that many wins together since 2009, and one of their players has been recognized as the AFC special teams player of the week. Rookie wide receiver Travis Benjamin took home the prize for the week on the back of his 93-yard punt return for a touchdown in the 30-7 rout of the Chiefs.

It was the longest punt return in Browns history and the longest punt return in the AFC this season. Benjamin, a fourth-round pick this year, has returned just three punts all year as it has largely been the domain of Josh Cribbs. Cribbs is a free agent after the season and he’s made no secret that he’d like to be playing a bigger role on offense than the Browns have been willing to give him.

If he does wind up heading elsewhere, it looks like Benjamin can be considered a strong candidate for the punt return job.

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Vote for Travis Benjamin for Rookie of the Week...

Voting is from Tuesday at 9AM till Friday at 3PM -- (Eastern time, I suppose)

Vote early, vote often, Tell your friends.

Browns wide receiver Travis Benjamin has been nominated for the Pepsi MAX NFL Rookie of the Week Award, the league announced Tuesday morning.


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VIDEO: Travis Benjamin's record dash turned momentum for Cleveland Browns

CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Browns special teams coach Chris Tabor probably never has been so happy a unit failed at its primary objective.

Tabor wanted to block a Kansas City punt on the first play of the second quarter Sunday afternoon. Instead, he had to settle for making franchise history.

Rookie Travis Benjamin fielded a Dustin Colquitt punt at the Browns 7 and raced 93 yards for the day's biggest play in a 30-7 victory over the Chiefs. The longest punt return since the franchise was created in 1946 energized the home crowd of 62,422 fans and seemed to demoralize the Chiefs.

It was a well-schemed play that almost produced a block and most certainly produced momentum the Browns never relinquished. It also was the perfect response to the Chiefs' 80-yard touchdown run by Jamaal Charles to open the game. The Browns went from four points down to three points up in a 12-second span.

"It was a huge lift," Browns coach Pat Shurmur said. "It puts us ahead in a game. We just took an 80-yard punch for a touchdown. That was a punch in the gut. To get a play like that to put you back on top, is something that you always hope for in a game."

On a day in which the Browns got creative offensively, it was some trickery in special teams that ignited the rally. As the return unit prepared to go on the field, Benjamin was telling teammates on the sidelines to watch for something different.

The rookie said the Browns had been practicing the play called "Banzai" for several weeks, but Josh Cribbs contends Tabor planned to use it against the Chiefs because it would work against their blocking scheme.

"We schemed up perfect," Cribbs said. "They're a man-scheme team on their punt coverage. ... We tried to get a punt block up the middle -- but a touchdown is always better."

As the Chiefs lined up at the Cleveland 48, they saw Cribbs deep in his normal position. But prior to the snap, Cribbs ran to the line of scrimmage. Meanwhile, Benjamin, who had lined up wide to block one of the two Chiefs gunners, ran back to replace Cribbs.

When the Chiefs gunner -- the one lined up against Benjamin -- saw Cribbs creep forward, he moved inside to assist in punt protection. This gave the Chiefs only one gunner running downfield. The Browns got tremendous penetration, shoving the punt protectors into Colquitt, who fell after kicking the ball.

The speedy Benjamin, returning only his third punt, fielded the ball cleanly with lots of room to operate as Buster Skrine pushed Kansas City's lone gunner wide and into the end zone. The rookie started to his right before cutting back to his left, a move forcing three Chiefs to overrun the play.

"When I made the first one or two guys miss I knew I would be scot-free," Benjamin said, who stumbled momentarily after the Chiefs’ Josh Bellamy got an arm on him at the Browns 16. "I saw all those Brown jerseys up ahead blocking and leading me to the end zone."

As Benjamin picked up speed down the left sideline, the punter and Cribbs entered his field of vision. Colquitt looked like a man fleeing from the vicinity of a bar-room brawl.

"The punter saw me about to come and he opened the gate like, 'I ain't got nothing to do with that.'" Cribbs said. "As soon as [Benjamin] broke it past a couple guys, I knew he was gone."

The Browns search for ways to employ the swiftness of the 5-10, 175-pound Benjamin. He also gained 15 yards on a double reverse, a play they have attempted about five times this season. Cribbs is one of the game's premier returners. He's also a free agent at season's end and there's no guarantee he'll be resigned. In other words, Benjamin could be the Browns' future return man.

"Every time my name is called I just try to go on the field and make the most out of it," said Benjamin, who has five combined returns this season.

In the fourth quarter, Tabor put Benjamin and Cribbs together back deep for the second time this season and the veteran delivered a 38-yard return. It capped a terrific special team's day -- one in which the only missed block turned out just fine.

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Travis Benjamin gives Cleveland Browns spark with 93-yard punt return for a touchdown

CLEVELAND — The surprise move resulting in a 93-yard punt return by Travis Benjamin for a touchdown Sunday has been in the Browns bag of tricks for weeks. They were just waiting for the right opportunity to pull it out.

Special teams coordinator Chris Tabor has a code name for the play: Banzai.

The Browns trailed, 10-3, when the Chiefs lined up to punt on the first play of the second quarter. Benjamin, not usually part of the punt return unit, was in the middle of the pack near the line of scrimmage when the two teams were aligning for the play. As the Chiefs were getting set, Joshua Cribbs sprinted forward from where he had been standing to receive the punt and Benjamin ran back to take Cribbs’ spot.

The worst that could have happened was the Chiefs would have punted before Benjamin was in position; Kansas City would have downed the ball and the Browns would have started a drive inside their 20.

Instead, the deception worked perfectly.

“Chris Tabor did a nice job,” Coach Pat Shurmur said. “We messed around with the coverage on the gunners, which caused the gunner to come in.”

When the Chiefs saw Cribbs dashing toward the line of scrimmage they correctly sniffed out the Browns’ intent to block Dustin Colquitt’s punt. The Chiefs’ gunner on the Browns’ left ran in to join on punt protection, leaving only the gunner on the right, and he over ran Benjamin.

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Trick play on punt return springs Travis Benjamin, Browns’ rout

CLEVELAND: The turning point of the Browns 30-7 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday was supposed to be in the form of a blocked punt.

Instead, the Browns turned the special-teams trick play into a record-setting punt return, when rookie Travis Benjamin ran 93 yards for a touchdown to open the second quarter.

“It was a huge lift,” Browns coach Pat Shurmur said.

Just before the Browns’ special-teams unit took the field, kicker Phil Dawson alerted the team’s sideline reporter, Jamir Howerton, that the Browns had something up their sleeve.

“It was a special one that [special teams] coach [Chris] Tabor had drawn up this week,” Dawson said. “That was awesome to watch and fun to finally see us get one in the end zone.”

The play, dubbed “Bonsai,” calls for Cribbs and Benjamin to trade spots before the ball is snapped. Cribbs sprinted up the middle of the field from his usual return spot to help bring more pressure on Chiefs punter Dustin Colquitt, Benjamin shifted backward to field the punt.

When Benjamin caught the ball at the 7-yard line, the Chiefs’ gunner was pushed past by Buster Skrine. Another defender, Josh Bellamy, dove at Benjamin’s ankles near the 15-yard line but missed.

“He’s the fastest man I’ve ever seen,” Browns running back Trent Richardson said. “With his speed, he gets an edge and he’s gone.”

Benjamin avoided more traffic when he cut back near the Browns’ 27-yard line and continued sprinting up the sideline. Cribbs did his part by scaring Colquitt out of bounds and a final spring block by Johnson Bademosi knocked the Chiefs’ Terrance Copper to the ground near the 5-yard line.

“The punter saw me about to come and he just opened the gate like, ‘I ain’t got nothing to do with that,’ ” Cribbs said.

Using both the veteran-savvy Cribbs and rookie speedster Benjamin together on returns is a pick-your-poison dilemma in its own right. But adding the twist of changing their positions added a stroke of genius designed especially for the Chiefs.

“It schemed up perfect,” Cribbs said. “They’re a man-scheme team on their punt coverage. We had guys coming across the ball and they had guys leave their post to come chase the guy. … Because we had so many guys in the hole, they had to stay in to protect and weren’t able to get out on the punt. That’s why [Benjamin] was able to catch the ball with nobody in his face, because they were all at the line.”

Not only did the trick play go into the record books replacing Eric Metcalf’s 92-yarder in 1994 as the longest punt return in team history, but Benjamin also became the first Browns rookie to return a punt for a touchdown since Ben Davis had a 52-yarder for a touchdown in 1967.

“It’s a very dangerous duo with me and Cribbs back there,” Benjamin said. “We knew that their special teams [players] and their coaches who were here were scared of Cribbs, so we built up this scheme all week and it worked perfectly.”

In the third quarter, another trick play involving Cribbs nearly resulted in immediate success as the Browns shook the dust off their old wildcat formation. Lining up at quarterback on first-and-10 at the 18-yard line, Cribbs took off running to his left. Just as he neared the left goal-line pylon, linebacker Cory Greenwood tackled him by the legs and dragged him down at the 1.

Cribbs, as well as the Browns’ coaches upstairs in the booth, thought he might have gotten the ball across the goal line, prompting coach Pat Shurmur to challenge the play. The ruling stood, but the point was moot when Richardson scored on a goal-line plunge on the next play.

“They didn’t get the right angle, Coach,” a hobbled Cribbs said after the game to offensive coordinator Brad Childress as the two passed each other on the way out of the locker room.

“You were close,” Childress said. “And we got it anyway.”

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Travis Benjamin will be returner if Josh Cribbs can't play

Travis Benjamin is ready to return kicks and punts at Oakland if Josh Cribbs cannot play against the Raiders on Sunday.

A shoulder/chest injury prevented Cribbs from practicing for the second straight day Thursday. He was in the locker room but declined to answer questions.

Cribbs is averaging 12.8 yards a return on 28 punt returns — fifth-best in the league. He has returned 30 kicks for a 28.4 average — seventh-best.

Benjamin, a rookie from Miami (Fla.), has returned two punts and two kicks this season. One of his punt returns was 40 yards, and the other 16 yards. He has had more modest success on kick returns with two returns for 47 yards.

"It's an every week thing," Benjamin said after practice Thursday. "Every week I'm behind Cribbs. He'll take a rep and I'll take a rep, so I'm already prepared to take the role."

Cribbs and Benjamin have different styles. Cribbs is 6-foot-1, 215 pounds. Benjamin is 5-foot-10, 175 pounds. He is faster than Cribbs but doesn't run through tackles the way Cribbs does.

"It's going to be kind of rainy, so maybe (Sebastian Janikowski) won't get the leg into it he wants to," Benjamin said. "Every ball should be returnable.

"It's all about timing, knowing I get to the block quicker and get to the hole quicker. It's something we've been working on all week in practice. I'm very exciting knowing I can come in and fill Josh Cribbs' shoes and knowing I'm prepared and ready to go."

The Raiders rank 25th in punt coverage while allowing 10.6 yards a return. They are 21st on kickoffs, allowing an average starting position of 22.6 yards. Janikowski has booted 30 kicks for touchbacks.

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Travis Benjamin catches 3 balls for 33 yards

Browns rookie WR Travis Benjamin returned to the lineup from a hamstring injury in Week 6 and caught three passes for 33 yards.

He was targeted five times. Benjamin was the No. 4 receiver behind Greg Little, Josh Gordon, and Josh Cooper, but the Browns under Pat Shurmur have always believed in receiver rotations and Benjamin received a healthy dose of snaps. Benjamin isn't a re-draft league fantasy option, but he's someone to keep in mind long term. Benjamin can really run and Cleveland's offense is improving.

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Travis Benjamin returns to practice

Mohamed Massaquoi and Travis Benjamin returned to practice Wednesday for the Cleveland Browns, Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports. Both wide receivers sat out last Sunday's win over the Cincinnati Bengals with hamstring injuries. Massaquoi hasn't played since Week 3, while Benjamin hasn't played since Week 4.

Through three games played, Massaquoi has nine receptions for 145 yards. Benjamin has 10 receptions for 125 yards and a touchdown through four games.

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Travis Benjamin Remains Out

The good news: Josh Cribbs returned to practice Wednesday after sitting out Monday with concussion symptoms.

The bad news: Mohamed Massaquoi and Travis Benjamin are still out.

The hamstring injury pestering Massaquoi and an undisclosed injury Benjamin sustained last Thursday in Baltimore leaves the Browns thin at wide receiver despite Cribbs returning. Benjamin had his knee wrapped last week, and he sat out practice, however, head coach Pat Shurmur wouldn't give the reason for Benjamin sitting out of practice.

Josh Cooper could be activated from the practice squad before Sunday when the Browns play the Giants on the road, but that move probably would not happen until later in the week.

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Travis Benjamin played 45-of-71 snaps

Rookie WR/KR Travis Benjamin played 45-of-71 snaps (63 percent) versus the Ravens in Week 4. Greg Little played 64 while third receiver Josh Gordon played 30.

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Travis Benjamin born on fast track to NFL

BEREA, Ohio -- If Browns quarterback Brandon Weeden didn't know the legend of "Muck City" before arriving in the NFL, he's receiving an education in it, courtesy of teammate Travis Benjamin.

Nicknamed for its fertile black soil, Belle Glade, Fla., and neighboring Pahokee produce sugarcane, sweet corn, peas and pro football players in abundance. Benjamin is among the natives who grew up chasing rabbits from the burning fields of cane at harvest time, a pursuit that strengthens legs and sharpens instincts.

Like many pro players from the rural parts on the shore of Lake Okeechobee, the wisp of a receiver is blessed with quickness. While rookies must adjust to the speed of the NFL, the NFL sometimes need to adjust to the speed of the blazers from Muck City.

"He's the fastest guy I've ever played with," said Weeden, who has underthrown a sprinting Benjamin on at least three occasions in the first four games. "He can really fly. I'm throwing routes to him where I have to shorten my drop to get it to him. I've never had a guy who can stretch it vertically that well. I'm not going to lie -- it takes some getting used to."

The Browns are hoping Benjamin becomes the latest from Belle Glade and Pahokee to excel in the league. The two towns, whose combined populations don't exceed 25,000 residents, are home to Santonio Holmes, Anquan Boldin, Fred Taylor, Andre Waters and Pro Football Hall of Famer Rickey Jackson. Benjamin's alma mater, Belle Glades Central High School, has placed 30-plus players in the NFL.

"The competition level is so high there," Benjamin said. "When we weren't in school, we were playing football or basketball from sunup to sundown. We'd go 'cross town and play the kids over there.

"When I went to [the University of] Miami and was playing against Florida State, I was facing some of the same kids from back home."

Belle Glade is two hours north of Miami and nearly as far from the trappings of pop culture. Belle Glade Central football coach Roosevelt Blackmon, who had a brief NFL career, said the nearest movie theater and mall are 30-plus miles away.

A sign welcoming visitors to Belle Glade reads: "Her Soil Is Her Fortune." Blackmon disagrees. He believes it's her people, a statement Benjamin co-signs.
"We always had players coming back telling us we could make it," Benjamin said. "I've talked to Santonio Holmes and Fred Taylor a lot. They gave me the mind-set and the words I needed to get to the next level."

Hair-raising speed
When Benjamin reaches full flight, his long dreadlocks dance on end. He's a Medusa in an orange helmet and a scary sight for the opposition.

The Baltimore Ravens got a peek Thursday night as Benjamin -- who hasn't cut his hair since middle school -- raced 40 yards on a fourth-quarter punt return in place of a concussed Josh Cribbs. Browns coach Pat Shurmur said jokingly the rookie will catch grief from teammates for allowing himself to get knocked out of bounds by the punter.

But the coaching staff continues to find ways to incorporate his speed into a lineup with a dearth of playmakers. Benjamin has run a few reverses, including one that carried for 35 yards. He also has five receptions for 82 yards and a touchdown. His snap count has risen dramatically in the past two games, and opponents must account for his big-play potential.

"There's a little bit of a fear factor with him," said Browns quarterbacks coach Mark Whipple, who served as Benjamin's offensive coordinator for two seasons at Miami. "Nobody likes to get beat deep. You see the way they play him, there's a respect factor there."

At 5-10, 175 pounds, Benjamin gives away an inch and 25 pounds to Browns place-kicker Phil Dawson. His 12-year-old sister Chasaty stands 5-8. His older brother Troy is 6-2. If Benjamin is bothered by his stature, he doesn't show it.

"God gave me the speed I needed," Benjamin said. "I'll take the speed over the height any day."

Playing in Belle Glade plied him with the confidence he could compete at the college and pro levels despite his slight build.

How good is the quality of Muck City football? Benjamin won a state title in 2006, but so did almost everyone else in the surrounding area. Pahokee, Belle Glades Central and Belle Glades Day -- located within a 10-mile radius -- all won championships in the same season.

Three years later, Holmes, of Belle Glades Central, and Boldin, of Pahokee, met in Super Bowl XLIII as Pittsburgh defeated Arizona, with Holmes capturing MVP honors.

"There is a great sense of pride in those communities," Whipple said. "They like to say they've come from there, and the legacies that have been passed on over the years are special."

The soil might be Belle Glade's fortune, but few residents share in her wealth. Poverty and crime are prevalent. Prior to Super Bowl XLIII, Holmes told reporters of his youth: "Either you're going to sell drugs or play football. Play sports or stand on the corner."

Benjamin said his mother, Cynthia Stewart, raised a family that stayed out of trouble. She sometimes held multiple jobs to provide for her three kids. Stewart continues to work, he said, as a deputy office for Palm Beach County.

Her son was a model high school student, Blackmon said, and that his biggest error in judgment has been accepting $140 in extra benefits from a former Miami booster that cost him a one-game suspension last season.

"My mother is my inspiration," Benjamin said. "She gave me a mind-set that the only way you get where you want is with hard work. We never wanted to let her down."

Rabbit season
Benjamin doesn't believe he owes his quickness to rabbit hunting in the smoke-filled sugarcane fields, but he's one of the countless numbers to partake in a tradition that dates at least to the 1940s.

He lived about a five-minute walk from the fields and estimates he caught 10 rabbits over the years. Benjamin said he knows of at least one teen who bagged 30 in a day. Some believe the ritual is the secret behind the success of so many players. Benjamin concedes one needs agility and timing to capture the darting bobtails.

"It is a special feeling when you catch that first one," he said.

Benjamin ran track in high school and college, but Whipple contends the Browns' receiver is "football fast." It's about more than accelerating in straight lines -- Benjamin did run a 4.36-second 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine -- it's about making tacklers miss.

He is one of six Hurricanes to finish his career with more than 2,000 yards in receiving.

"Everyone talks about being fast, but you've got to make plays, and Travis made them at Miami," Whipple said. "He had that ability to make big plays in big games using his speed."

Whipple recommended the Browns draft Benjamin not only for his ability, but his character and unselfishness. A kid who grew up chasing rabbits didn't mind serving as one at Miami as his deep speed opened up intermediate routes for others.

It's too early to say whether Benjamin develops into a dependable pro. Receivers of his proportion must demonstrate their durability at every level. He must also be able to catch balls in traffic as well as beat defensive backs along the sidelines.

Lots of kids from Muck City have proven they can reach the NFL. Benjamin wants to show he can stick.

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Travis Benjamin Brandon Weeden's Favorite Deep Target

Golf might be Brandon Weeden’s second-favorite sport.

In agreeing that he needs to start connecting on some deep balls, Weeden said he can’t throw the bomb the way Brandt Snedeker hit his tee shot on the 18th hole Sunday.

Tens of millions of NFL fans might not even realize Snedeker was leading the PGA Tour Championship tournament Sunday in Atlanta when he sailed his tee shot on the 18th hole into a grandstand.

But Weeden knew all about it Tuesday, while agreeing that he needs to start connecting on some deep throws.

“We’re getting close,” Weeden said, promising he will keep taking shots.

Rookie speedster Travis Benjamin has emerged as Weeden’s favorite long-ball target.

“I’ve never had a guy who could stretch it that well,” Weeden said of Benjamin’s ability to get down the field in a flash.

That includes his Oklahoma State teammate Justin Blackmon, the No. 5 overall pick in the 2012 draft.

Weeden said he is learning to shorten his steps and let the bomb fly with no hesitation when Benjamin is the target.

“I’ve gotta let it rip,” he said.

Weeden said Benjamin, a fourth-round pick, is “playing really well.”

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PHOTO: Travis Benjamin Scores His First NFL TD


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Travis Benjamin gets his first TD

Travis Benjamin caught two passes for 44 yards with a touchdown in the Browns' Week 3 loss to the Bills.

Benjamin's first career touchdown was a pretty 22-yard strike over the middle that brought the Browns within three points in the third quarter. However, he continues to play behind Greg Little, Mo Massaquoi and Greg Little. There's no real upside here.

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