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Fitting honor for Benson

May 5, 2007 - Neil Rudel

Altoona and Blair County have been blessed with a long list of superior athletes, more than our share of which have gone on to the professional level.

Troy Benson is certainly one of them.

The fourth son of Altoona's most accomplished sports family -- four Division I football scholarships, two NFL players -- Benson will be inducted into the Western Chapter of the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame tonight at a ceremony at Four Points by Sheraton Pittsburgh North.

Benson was a standout linebacker at Pitt in the early 1980s and spent seven seasons with the New York Jets. He was a season leader at both Pitt and the Jets in tackles and captained both teams.

Oldest brother Brad was an 11-year NFL player and a Super Bowl champion with the New York Giants while fellow sublings Todd and Shawn earned Division I scholarships at Maryland. Troy may have been the most athletically gifted of all of them.

Like all the Bensons, he exuded class, personality and never took himself too seriously. Benson was equal parts fun, knowledgeable and inquisitive about all things football. Play 18 holes with him and you're ready for another 18.

Today, Benson lives outside Pittsburgh with his wife and three boys, selling a line of golf equipment and accessories and winning the long-drive contest during the annual Pitt-Penn State alumni golf outing.

I've been fortunate to cover many of Altoona's all-time greats and rank Troy high among my personal favorites.

Congratulations to him on his latest honor.



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