Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Family of former Buc accused of murdering his mother says football is to blame

Former Bucs safety De'Von Hall, shown in 2010. [Associated Press]

Former Bucs safety De'Von Hall, shown in 2010. [Associated Press]

A former NFL player is now in a Los Angeles jail, accused of murdering his mother. Family members say De'von Hall has been mentally ill for years, and they point to the damage he sustained during his football career.

A native of Los Angeles who played college ball at Utah State, the 29-year-old Hall had a short NFL career as a defensive back. He signed with the Vikings as an undrafted free agent in 2009, then played four games for the Colts before being claimed off waivers by the Bucs in December 2009.

He spent much of the 2010 offseason with the Bucs before being waived that August, and also had a brief stint with the Panthers in 2011, as well as with a pair of CFL teams.

However, Hall's professional football career was marked by increasingly erratic behavior, and he descended into homelessness in the following years. His mother, Alecia Benson, eventually took him back into her home, but a witness told police that he "stomped her out" there in April.

In a lengthy feature published Thursday by the Los Angeles Times, a Utah State coach said of Hall's mother, "She was his rock." The story claims that some family members "don't think Hall understands his mother is dead."

Regarding Hall's transformation from a well-meaning youngster to what he became as an adult, "It was like a switch that had gone off," a cousin of Hall's, Angela Benson-Williams, told CBS Los Angeles in May. "I didn't recognize my cousin anymore."

"He turned into something that became vicious," Hall's uncle, Tony Benson, told the station, "and that was the sport he was in. The more vicious, the more accolades you get."

"Football is a very rough sport, and it can have deleterious consequences that impact health, mental well-being and can acutely impact other people's lives, as well," another cousin, Brenden Benson, told the station. According to CBS L.A., the family said that Hall had suffered numerous concussions while playing college and pro football.

Former Utah State coaches and teammates told the Times that they didn't recall Hall getting concussed, but one teammate noted that, with head injuries, "a lot of things go under the table." Another possibility considered by some former teammates was that Hall had become addicted to drugs after smoking weed laced with a stronger substance at a party he attended in Miami while with the Bucs.

According to the Times, Hall had told some ex-teammates that he was in a car accident in Tampa that resulted in him hitting his head and subsequently being put in a straitjacket, "then injected with an unknown substance to calm down." In 2010, Hall was on his way home from Florida when he was arrested in New Mexico for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, after a woman told police that he had tried to run her off a road.

To Tony Benson, Hall's troubles began in the NFL, and the league had a responsibility to investigate and treat his symptoms of illness. "The NFL, in my opinion, should've done a better job in making sure they took care of this kid," he told the Times.

While Hall is being held on $1 million bail as his court proceedings continue, another Utah State teammate, Dionte Holloway, said of the young man he knew, "De'von mentally is gone." He added, "That's not the De'von I know, that's not the De'von I went to school with, that's not my friend, that's somebody who was out of their mind."

Family of former Buc accused of murdering his mother says football is to blame 07/07/17 [Last modified: Friday, July 7, 2017 11:21am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Florida Gators' 2018 recruiting class cracks top 10

    Blogs

    While I was out on vacation, the Florida Gators apparently picked up their recruiting.

    By a lot.

  2. Five undrafted rookies to watch in Bucs training camp

    Blogs

    Rookies report today for Bucs training camp, with veterans joining in Thursday and the first practice Friday morning, and with HBO's "Hard Knocks" chronicling this year's camp, there's always an interest in the underdog storyline of undrafted rookies trying to make the 53-man roster.

    Bucs linebacker Richie Brown, an undrafted rookie trying to make Tampa Bay's roster this preseason, is shown during last year's St. Petersburg Bowl after he recovered a fumble for Mississippi State.
  3. Rays morning after: The bats have disappeared

    Blogs

     

    Center fielder Mallex Smith reacts after striking out swinging in the seventh inning.
  4. Bryan Harper's path to the majors, where his brother is a star, has been bumpy

    The Heater

    He has thrown 215 professional innings over 168 minor-league outings, and at various points the kid from Las Vegas has called Viera and Hagerstown, Md., and Harrisburg, Pa. and Syracuse, N.Y., and even Arlington, Va. home. During that summer he lived in the D.C. suburbs, he would rise some mornings with his brother in …

  5. Blake Snell steps up, but Rays lose to Orioles anyway (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Blake Snell stepped up when he had to Monday and delivered an impressive career-high seven-plus innings for the Rays. That it wasn't enough in what ended up a 5-0 loss to the Orioles that was their season-high fifth straight is symptomatic of the mess they are in right now.

    Tim Beckham stands hands on hips after being doubled off first.