The stage was set for Bené Benwikere to enjoy a Super storyline.
The Panthers were rolling through an undefeated season on their way to Super Bowl 50 in Santa Clara, Calif., 5 miles from Benwikere’s San Jose State alma mater.
Then he broke his leg.
Benwikere, the second-year cornerback, drew a steady stream of northern California reporters during Monday’s Opening Night. Many covered Benwikere when he played in the area and he was engaging with all of them.
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But he would have preferred answering questions about matching up with Denver’s receivers.
“It’s a bittersweet feeling. You definitely want to participate,” Benwikere said. “But God has a plan and I just have to rehab and make sure I make another Super Bowl.”
Benwikere attended Monday’s practice at San Jose State, and talked with his former college coach. Benwikere’s immediately family lives in the Los Angeles area, but he has relatives in the Bay area.
Benwikere played in 13 games this season before breaking his leg in a Week 14 win against Atlanta while pursuing Julio Jones. So instead of prepping for the Broncos , Benwikere has been encouraging teammates and serving as the unofficial concierge.
“People have been asking about spots to go eat, so I’ve been pointing them in different directions,” he said.
For anyone visiting San Jose this week, Benwikere suggests Yard House for firecracker wings and La Victoria’s for Mexican. Tell them he sent you.