Benson stays with Bengals

Posted by ESPN.com's James Walker

The Cincinnati Bengals retained their starting tailback from last season, agreeing to terms with Cedric Benson for a two-year, $7 million contract according to ESPN.com's John Clayton.

Cincinnati went after free agent running back Derrick Ward initially. But once Ward agreed to go to Tampa Bay, the Bengals shifted their focus back to Benson, who finished the year strong for Cincinnati.

Benson has come a long way from being out of football at the beginning of 2008 to having the Bengals pay him an average of $3.5 million per year to be their starter. He rushed for 740 yards and two touchdowns in 12 games last season.

In other news for the Bengals, free agent receiver Laveranues Coles left his visit in Cincinnati Tuesday without a deal. The Bengals are searching for veteran help at receiver following the loss of T.J. Houshmandzadeh to the Seattle Seahawks.