The Cincinnati Bengals may have jettisoned Cedric Benson, but the running back filling the void is a familiar face to the Ravens.
BenJarvus Green-Ellis left the New England Patriots for a three-year, $9 million contract with the Bengals. Green-Ellis has scored a touchdown in each of two meetings with the Ravens, including a 7-yarder in the Patriots’ 23-20 win in the AFC championship game in January.
“He’s a hard-nosed runner,” inside linebacker Ray Lewis said of Green-Ellis, who rushed for 68 yards on 15 carries in January. “He’s one of those one-step-and-cut guys who can get downhill. He plays the game the right way. They have a nice running back system between him and No. 40 [Brian Leonard] and they go back and forth. So we have our hands full.”
Green-Ellis sat out Cincinnati’s final three games of the preseason because of a strained toe, but he is expected to start Monday night. Green-Ellis, who gained 667 yards on 181 attempts in 2011, replaces Benson, who rushed for 1,067 on 273 carries and landed with the Green Bay Packers.
Green-Ellis may have been overshadowed by quarterback Tom Brady, wide receiver Wes Welker and tight end Rob Gronkowski with the Patriots, but free safety Ed Reed said the defense will be wary of the player nicknamed “The Law Firm.”
“He’s a good runner,” Reed said. “He did great things in New England. So we’ve definitely got to have our eyes on him.”