LeCharles Bentley always left a big impression. The standout lineman was a force throughout his playing days, from St. Ignatius High School to Ohio State to the National Football League. At 6-2 and 313 pounds as a professional, he was a true force at the highest level of the game.
Under veteran coach, Chuck Kyle (2013 Greater Cleveland Sports Hall of Fame) at St. Ignatius, he was a two-year starter and All-Ohio selection as a senior in 1997.
At Ohio State under coaches John Cooper and Jim Tressel ( 2012 GCSHOF), he anchored the offensive Line and solidified his presence throughout the country. He was a first team All-Big Ten pick in 2000 and 2001, a consensus first team All-American as a senior. He was named the Dave Rimington Trophy winner as the best center in the country in 2001.
Drafted in the second round of the 2002 NFL Draft (No. 44 overall) by the New Orleans Saints, he started all 57 games, at guard and then center, for the team during the next four seasons. He was named by Sports Illustrated as the league’s offensive rookie of the year in 2002 and was on the Pro Football Weekly the all-rookie team.
He was signed by the Cleveland Browns as a free agent in 2006. However, the high hopes for the return to his hometown team were shattered when he tore the left patellar tendon in his left leg at the start of training camp. A subsequent staph infection and numerous knee surgeries put an end to his career, and he officially retired in January 2009.
Bentley worked in the Cleveland media and established a football training school.