This one hurts the most to talk about. Let’s go back to the early 2000s Saints teams. A squad full of likable misfits, backed by head coach Jim Haslett. They were the post-Mike Ditka era Saints and featured Ditka’s former draft pick Ricky Williams, Aaron Brooks, Kyle Turley, Willie Roaf, Joe Horn, La’Roi Glover, and of course, LeCharles Bentley. The Saints were loaded. In 2006, however, the Saints couldn’t afford to keep Bentley so they let him go.
The Browns swooped in on the Cleveland, Ohio native and signed Bentley to a nice deal. It was seen by many as the biggest free-agent acquisition of the return-era for the organization. Many claimed that the Browns got the best player on the board, and this was a year that Julian Peterson, Steve Hutchinson, Drew Brees, Shaun Alexander, Reggie Wayne, and others were set to hit the market as well. Getting Bentley was a huge deal.
He was already a two-time Pro Bowler, he was a second-round pick out of Ohio State and he played at Cleveland’s private prep school, St. Ignatius. Needless to say, Cleveland was excited.
Where it went wrong: Unlike Josh Gordon’s impulse control issues and Trent Richardson’s vision issues, there was no issue with Bentley. Before coming to Cleveland, that is. On the first snap of the preseason, however, Bentley tore his knee up and was out for the entire year. Mistreatment by the medical staff caused Bentley to develop MRSA in his knee and the disease effectively ended his career, despite his initial leg injury not being deemed as anything career-threatening. Bentley sued the team and settled out of court in 2012. Ironically enough, Joe Jurevicius, another Cleveland-born NFL star came to Cleveland in 2006 as well. Jurevicius was a star in Cleveland but his career was also ended by MRSA and like Bentley, sued the Browns and settled out of court.