Former Texas Longhorns and NFL running back Cedric Benson has died as a result of a motorcycle accident, according to multiple reports.
Citing family and friends, the Austin American-Statesman confirmed Benson was killed. He was 36.
Former Texas coach Mack Brown tweeted a photo of Benson with the caption, "We lost a great one way too soon. #RIP "
Benson, who played for three teams in eight NFL seasons, was one of two people killed in the crash, the Austin American-Statesman reported.
Emergency authorities told the newspaper that they had received information that the former athlete and a passenger had both died.
The Austin-Travis County EMS, meanwhile, tweeted late Saturday local time that a man and woman had died in an "Auto v Motorcycle" accident and that two others suffered non-life-threatening injuries but did not release names.
The fourth overall pick of the Chicago Bears in 2005, Benson is ranked second on the all-time rushing list at the University of Texas with 5,540 yards. He won the Doak Walker Award in 2004 as the nation 's top college running back. He rushed for 64 touchdowns as a Longhorn.
Benson attended Robert E. Lee High in Midland, Texas, and is considered among the greatest high school players in that state 's history, finishing his career with 8,423 yards rushing.
"He was from Texas, and he showed his Texas toughness in leading us to a division championship in just his second season with us, " Bengals owner Mike Brown said. "His three consecutive 1, 000-yard seasons displayed the talent he possessed. Our organization is deeply saddened by his sudden and tragic passing."
Benson returned to Austin after his playing career and set up a foundation, NUFCED, to aid underprivileged children and families. Those efforts included helping repair damage at the home of the first victim killed in a series of bombings in Austin in early 2018.
Associated Press contributed to this report.
On what appears to be his Instagram account, there are several photos and videos of Benson posing with motorcycles. That includes a shot posted Saturday night of two helmets resting on a motorcycle with the caption, "My Saturday evening."
Benson ran for 6,017 yards and 32 touchdowns in eight NFL seasons, between 2005-12. He was released by the Bears after three seasons in the wake of two alcohol-related incidents, one involving a boat and the other a car.
He was in the news in Texas last week when he was found guilty on a lesser misdemeanor after Travis County prosecutors dismissed a February 2017 drunken driving charge.
Benson's greatest success in the NFL came with the Cincinnati Bengals, with whom he ran for more than 1,000 yards every year from 2009 to 2011. He appeared in five games with the Green Bay Packers in 2012, his final season.
His former coach at Texas, Mack Brown, tweeted Sunday that he's "saddened" by the reports of Benson's death.
"We've coached a lot of tough players but none were tougher than Cedric," Brown wrote. "He was a true spirit. Our thoughts and prayers are with his friends and family on this sad day."
— Compiled from staff and wire reports