Big-play wide receiver and kick returner Travis Benjamin returns for his second year with the Chargers after signing a four-year deal in 2016. A legitmate home-run threat, Benjamin has scored 17 touchdowns during his career, and the average length of his touchdowns is an astonishing 40.8 yards. Including punt returns, 10 of Benjamin’s 17 career TDs have been of 40 yards or longer. His 11.9-yard career punt return average from when he entered the NFL in 2012 is the highest in the League over the last five years (2012-16).
Benjamin came to the Chargers from Cleveland. In 2015, he was the Browns’ second-leading receiver as he set career highs in catches, yards and touchdowns. During a September 2015 game vs. Tennessee, Benjamin caught touchdown passes of 50 and 60 yards, in addition to returning a punt 78 yards for another score. He joined Tavon Austin as the only players in NFL history with a 75-plus yard punt return touchdown and two 50-plus yard touchdown catches in a single game. Combined with a 54-yard touchdown catch in the Browns’ season opener at the New York Jets, Benjamin became the first player since Hall of Famer Jim Brown (1963) with four 50-plus yard touchdowns in a season’s first two games.
Benjamin’s nickname is Rabbit. As a youth in Florida because he used to chase rabbits that were escaping from burning cane fields. Benjamin swears that it helped him develop his speed and agility.
The Belle Glade, Florida native still returns to his hometown every offseason where he hosts a youth football camp with Deonte Thompson, who played in the NFL with Baltimore, Buffalo, and Chicago from 2012-15.
Benjamin is easy to spot with his trademark long dreadlocks, which haven’t been cut since he was in the eighth grade.
Benjamin is married to the former Africa Stefanos, a former on-air host at the hip-hop radio station FM Z107.9 in Cleveland.
Benjamin comes from a family with a long history in law enforcement. His mother, Cynthia Stewart, has been a sheriff’s deputy in Palm Beach County, Florida for the last 13 years, and two of his aunts, Quandra and Kimberly Stewart, both work in corrections.
Breast cancer is a cause that’s important to Benjamin as both is mother and grandmother are survivors. in 2016, Benjamin co-hosted the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure with safety Jahleel Addae.
Benjamin’s cousin Alphonso Marshall played cornerback for the Chicago Bears from 2004- 05. His brother, Troy Stewart, played football at Bethune-Cookman.
Benjamin’s hobbies include fishing, watching track, cooking and traveling. At Miami, Benjamin set a school record in the 60 meters, and he was a national finalist in the 4x100-meter relay
TRANSACTION HISTORY: Fourth-round pick (100) by Cleveland, April 28, 2012...signed May 10...contract expired, March 9, 2016...signed four-year contract with Chargers, March 11.
2017: Named AFC Special Teams Player of the Week for his efforts in a Week 7 win against the Broncos: Three punt returns for 88 yards (29.3 avg.), including a 65-yard punt return TD that proved to be the winning score…Appeared in all 16 games, starting three at WR…Caught 34 passes for 567 yards (16.7 avg.) and four TDs…Registered career highs with 13 carries for 96 yards (7.4 avg.)…Added 27 punt returns for 257 yards (9.5 avg.), including one that he returned 65 yards for a TD…Became just the second Charger in history to record a punt return TD and a TD catch in the same game (Eric Metcalf vs. Denver, Nov. 30, 1997), doing so in the second matchup with the Broncos…Awards: AFC Special Teams Player of the Week (Week 7)…at Denver (Sept. 11): Saw action on 39 offensive snaps and three on special teams…Registered three catches for 43 yards (14.3 avg.) and a TD…Hauled in a 38-yard TD in the fourth quarter…Sped past S Darian Stewart to get behind the Denver secondary and caught the pass in the end zone along the left sideline...vs. Miami (Sept. 17): Appeared in his 70th NFL game, seeing action on 39 plays on offense and three on special teams…Made an 11-yard reception and returned a punt for 23 yards...vs. Kansas City (Sept. 24): Registered the sixth 100-yard receiving game of his career, posting 105 yards on five catches (21.0 avg.) on 44 offensive plays…Added a nine-yard rush in the first quarter…Totaled three punt returns for 12 yards (4.0 avg.) on seven special teams plays…Hauled in a 44-yard reception in the first quarter to set up an 11-yard TD run by RB Melvin Gordon on the next play…Ran a flag-route and out-jumped CB Terrance Mitchell for a catch at the Kansas City 26-yard line…Added a 26-yard reception against Mitchell in the fourth quarter to get the Chargers to the Kansas City 22…vs. Philadelphia (Oct. 1): Appeared on 37 plays on offense and two on special teams…Hauled in two receptions for 21 yards (10.5 avg.) and returned two punts for three yards (1.5 avg.)…at New York Giants (Oct. 8): Appeared on 46 offensive plays, hauling in two catches for 18 yards (9.0 avg.) and registering a 14-yard rush…On the second offensive play in the third quarter, started in the slot on the left side of the formation and took an end-around handoff down the right sideline for a first down…Contributed on eight special teams plays, returning three punts for 35 yards (11.7 avg.)…at Oakland (Oct. 15): Started the 30th game of his career as the third WR…Contributed on 21 offensive plays and four on special teams…Returned two punts for six yards (3.0 avg.)…vs. Denver (Oct. 22): Named AFC Special Teams Player of the Week for his efforts…Posted a 42-yard TD reception and three punt returns for 88 yards (29.3 avg.), including a 65-yard TD return to open the scoring…Became just the second Charger in history to register a punt return TD and TD catch in the same game, joining Eric Metcalf (vs. Denver, Nov. 30, 1997)…Allowed a punt by P Riley Dixon to bounce before fielding and planting his foot to drive downfield, splitting the Denver coverage unit for a 65-yard score…The return marked the 90th punt return of his career and fourth for a TD…Surpassed 1,000 punt return yards for his career on the play…Closed scoring in the fourth quarter, hauling in a pass from QB Philip Rivers on a slant-route before speeding past S Justin Simmons and the rest of the Denver defense for a 42-yard score…The play put him at 170 career receptions and 2,600 career receiving yards…Added a four-yard carry…Saw action on 22 offensive snaps and eight on special teams…at New England (Oct. 29): Posted five catches for 64 yards (12.8 avg.) and a TD…Tied a career high with two rushes for 14 yards (7.0 avg.)…Started at WR, seeing time on 35 offensive plays and three on special teams…In the fourth quarter, beat CB Malcolm Butler on a go-route along the right sideline to haul in a 24-yard TD pass from QB Philip Rivers…at Jacksonville (Nov. 12): Appeared on 41 offensive plays and 10 on special teams…Registered a 13-yard rush and three punt returns for 10 yards (3.3 avg.)…vs. Buffalo (Nov. 19): Posted a 21-yard reception and a seven-yard run, seeing action on 21 plays on offense and two on special teams…at Dallas (Nov. 23): Corralled three passes for 50 yards (16.7 avg.), including a season-long 46-yard gain in the first quarter…On the play, got behind S Xavier Woods and S Jeff Heath on third-and-10 for QB Philip Rivers to find him deep…Added a six-yard carry, and appeared on 44 plays on offense and five on special teams…vs. Cleveland (Dec. 3): Started as the third WR, marking his third start of the season, and played 38 snaps on offense and three on special teams…Finished with four catches for 68 yards (17.0 avg.) and a nine-yard punt return…In the second quarter, hauled in a pass on a comeback-route and turned upfield, breaking a tackle by CB Jamar Taylor for a 39-yard gain, marking the team’s longest offensive play…vs. Washington (Dec. 10): Appeared on 33 offensive plays and eight on special teams…Finished with two receptions for 21 yards (10.5 avg.) and a 22-yard carry…Added two punt returns for 49 yards (24.5 avg.)…Took a reverse handoff from RB Melvin Gordon, turning the corner up the left sideline for the 22-yard gain…In the fourth quarter, posted the 100th punt return of his career, getting around the edge while receiving blocks from FB Derek Watt and CB Michael Davis to get to the Washington 27-yard line for a 47-yard return…at Kansas City (Dec. 16): Appeared on 36 plays on offense and three on special teams, finishing with a seven-yard catch and a rush for seven yards…Added a six-yard punt return…at New York Jets (Dec. 24): Played on 31 offensive snaps and nine on special teams, finishing with a rushing attempt that went for minus-four yards…vs. Oakland (Dec. 31): Posted 96 yards on four receptions (24.0 avg.), including a 62-yard TD catch…Registered the score on a third-and-12 late in the third quarter, speeding behind the secondary on a post-route… Added two rushing attempts for four yards (2.0 avg.)…In the first quarter, ran a drag-route from left to right on third-and-six, catching the ball three yards downfield before turning up the right sideline for a 21-yard gain…Provided a key block to free RB Melvin Gordon for 14 yards on a screen pass in the second quarter…Appeared on 39 plays on offense and three on special teams.
2016: First 100-yard game of season (115) and two touchdowns (6 and 45 yards) in 38-14 win vs. Jacksonville Sept. 18...first gave Chargers 14-0 lead and second 35-0 lead...went over 100 yards on 45-yard scoring catch...43-yard catch in second quarter set up TD that gave Bolts 21-0 lead...tied career-high with 117 yards receiving Oct. 9 at Oakland...54-yard catch-and-run to help set up field goal for 10-6 lead...during late fourth quarter TD drive to get within 34-31, had 11-yard catch on 2nd-and-11 and 23-yarder to Oakland 17...despite dealing with sore knee, 13-yard catch-and-run for key 3rd-and-5 conversion during late fourth-quarter TD drive in 33-30 OT win at Atlanta Oct. 23...one-handed 14-yard TD catch in back of end zone late in third quarter on 3rd-and-10 play Oct. 30 at Denver... capped 98-yard drive, team’s longest since 2011 season finale, and brought Bolts to within 17-13... also helped contribute to TD on Bolts’ opening drive of game with 18-yard catch on 3rd-and-5...became first WR since Carolina’s Kelvin Benjamin in Week 1 to catch TD vs. Denver’s defense...inactive Nov. 13 vs. Miami (knee)...47-yard TD catch on game’s opening drive Dec. 18 vs. Oakland...Team Captain and caught game-long 50-yard catch on first play from scrimmage Dec. 24 at Cleveland...inactive Jan. 1 vs. Kansas City (knee).
2015: Caught Johnny Manziel’s first NFL touchdown pass (54 yards) Sept. 13 at N.Y. Jets...AFC Special Teams Player of Week after three TDs in 20-14 win Sept. 20 vs. Tennessee...career-best 154 punt return yards, including 78-yard TD return...season-high 115 yards receiving, including TD catches of 60 and 50 yards...finished game with 269 all-purpose yards...first player in Browns history with two receiving TDs and punt return TD in single game...team captain Oct. 11 at Baltimore...season-high nine catches and 117 yards receiving Oct. 18 vs. Denver...team-high 113 yards receiving Nov. 15 at Pittsburgh...team captain Nov. 30 vs. Ravens and caught game-tying 42-yard TD pass with 1:47 left in game.
2014: Two touchdowns, including game-winning six-yard TD catch with 1:09 remaining in 29-28 come-from-behind win at Tennessee Oct. 5...also caught 17-yarder with 6:49 left to get within six (22-28).
2013: AFC Special Teams Player of Week after team-record 179 punt return yards, including 79-yard touchdown return, Oct. 3 vs. Buffalo...most punt return yards in game by NFL player since 2004...86-yard kickoff return led to touchdown Oct. 20 at Green Bay...injured knee Oct. 27 at Kansas City...placed on “Reserve-Injured” Oct. 30.
2012: First NFL TD on 22-yard catch Sept. 23 at Buffalo...AFC Special Teams Player of Week after 149 punt return yards, including 93-yard TD return Dec. 9 vs. Kansas City...first Browns rookie with punt return TD since 1967...69-yard touchdown catch Dec. 16 at Washington.
COLLEGE: In 49 career games, totaled 131 catches for 2,146 yards and 13 TDs...sixth player in school history to surpass 2,000 yards...third in school history with 3,874 all-purpose yards.
PERSONAL: Born in Belle Glade, Fla....two-time All-Palm Beach County at Glades Central in Belle Glade...won state title as junior.