Benson believes he's in prime, and Packers can benefit

"It's prime time right now," the 29-year old said of where he is in his career. "I'm strong and fast, stronger than I've been. Plus, I'm more knowledgeable."

Benson said he has taken it upon himself to improve at one aspect of his game each year.

"You become a veteran over time," he said. "I've learned the game. I'm a professional. I'm much more mature than I was back (with the Bears). I was a kid then."

Benson said one of the things that made him mature was the Bears releasing him in June 2009 after two alcohol-related arrests in five weeks. Now, he says, it was all a part of growing up as a player.

Adversity has helped shape Benson, he says.

"Those were my first professional years," he said. "I think back on them a lot. They helped get me where I am today. I think about it when I'm around a bunch of young guys. I find myself sharing information with them and think back what it was like for me."

There are no bitter feelings about his Bears career, or how it ended. He is in touch with no one from the organization.

So while the Bears clearly have been in his rear-view mirror, they also now will be in his bull's-eye twice this year, the first time Sept. 13 when the Bears travel to Lambeau Field for a Thursday night game.

Benson acknowledges he will feel something special when he returns to Soldier Field for the first time Dec. 16. But he said he already let the Bears know what he is capable of when he ran for a career-high 189 yards against them in a 2009 game at Paul Brown Stadium.

"I look at every opponent and every game as an opportunity now," he said. "With the way things are going, I'm not sure how much longer I'll get to play, regardless of whether or not I still can play. So every week is going to be a chance to display what I have."

It is the perspective of a player who has seen a few things.

Twitter @danpompei