A former Buffalo Bills wide receiver hit a major snag in his NFL comeback attempt earlier this summer, and now may have run into an even bigger roadblock.
Kelvin Benjamin, who came to the Bills in a midseason trade in 2017, had been out of the league since the end of the 2018 season but tried to make a comeback as a tight end this offseason. It ended in dramatic fashion, with Benjamin taking a parting shot at the New York Giants after he was waived. Benjamin now faces a league suspension that could bring an end to his comeback hopes.
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League Disciplines Benjamin
On Wednesday, ESPN’s Field Yates reported that the league had suspended Benjamin for the first two games of the season. Yates did not report the reason for the discipline.
The Giants had brought Benjamin in for minicamp and back for training camp as he tried a position change, but the 30-year-old reportedly showed up out of shape and in need of losing weight. As Joe Rivera of The Sporting News reported, he weighed 265 pounds after minicamp and the team asked him to lose 14 pounds before training camp. Benjamin not only failed to lose the weight, but showed up for training camp at 268 pounds — though Rivera noted that Benjamin had added some muscle that caused his weight to rise.
After Benjamin was released, he lashed out at the organization and coach Joe Judge in particular.
“I have a perspective on Joe Judge,” Benjamin told Zack Rosenblatt of NJ.com. “He’s not a coach that can ever win a Super Bowl because he sits there and cusses all day. You can tell he’s one-sided about everything. He’s a know-it-all. That’s not how it’s supposed to work. We all can learn from each other. We’re all humans at the end of the day. The true colors will come out.”
Benjamin also said he didn’t feel like the Giants gave him a legitimate chance to make the team.
“To be honest, man, I just felt like it was all a hoax,” he said. “I felt like they didn’t give me a chance. I finished the conditioning. I finished all of that. I did what I was supposed to do. Everybody in the building was telling me I looked great. They never wanted the narrative to be good about me.”
Benjamin Had Turbulent Career
Benjamin’s weight has been an issue throughout his career, with reports that he showed up to training camp for the Carolina Panthers at 280 pounds. The team denied that he weighed that much, though coach Ron Rivera admitted that he needed to drop some weight.
“He is a little heavy. He knows it. We’ve talked about it. We talked about what he has to do, and he’s done a great job,” Rivera said, via the Charlotte Observer.
Benjamin had a strong start to his career, catching 73 passes for 1,008 yards with the Panthers in 2014. In six games with the Bills in 2017, he caught 16 passes for 217 yards. Benjamin had only one touchdown with the Bills that season, but it was a very memorable one, snagging a catch during a blizzard against the Indianapolis Colts.
Benjamin played in 10 games for the Bills the following season, catching 23 passes for 354 yards and one touchdown. He ended that season with the Kansas City Chiefs, catching two passes for 26 yards in three games.