FOXBORO, Mass. — Even when speaking in cliches, Martellus Bennett always finds a way to deliver a compelling quote.
Asked Thursday whether the New England Patriots are “playing with a chip on their shoulder” now that quarterback Tom Brady is back from his four-game Deflategate suspension, Bennett said yes — but only because they have been all along.
“We just try to continue to do what we’ve been doing,” the outspoken tight end said. “Just win games. I think every guy’s played with a chip on his shoulder this entire season, so I don’t think that’s going to change.”
He elaborated: “That’s just who we are as human beings. You can’t play this game without a chip on your shoulder. Whether it’s guys that got cut, guys that got traded, guys that feel like they got passed (over) by other teams — to play this game, you’ve got to have a chip.
“And everybody’s chip is a little bit different. Like Lay’s, I guess. You might be a barbecue guy, you might be a sour cream and onion guy, but as long as you have your chip, that’s what gets you through the game.”
Bennett’s personal chip? His family.
“I play for my family first and foremost,” he said. “My daughter and my wife are what drives me to continue to go. My brothers and my mom and my dad — I play for my family. That’s why I have a different edge than a lot of guys out there, because I feel like if they’re trying to stop me, they’re trying to take food out of my daughter’s mouth at the same time.
“I’m going to have to pay for college. I’m going to have to pay for a wedding at some point, too, so I’ve got to go out there and perform at a high level, and a lot of guys try to stop me from being able to do that. So part of that’s my chip, and the other part’s everybody saying, ‘He’s not this. He’s not that. He can’t do this. He can’t do that.’ So I just go out there and show them I can every single week.”
Thus far, Bennett has done just that. He’s the Patriots’ leading receiver through four games (15 catches for 247 yards) and also has been one of their top blockers.
“It’s been fun,” the 29-year-old said. “My mom enjoys it. My mom’s like, ‘I like you on the Patriots. I get to see everything you’re capable of. Other teams, they didn’t let you do everything you can do as much.’ And I’m like, ‘All right, Mom.’ ”
Backup quarterbacks Jimmy Garoppolo and Jacoby Brissett piloted New England to a 3-1 record during that span. Asked whether the team is more motivated to stick it to the NFL — an extra-large chip on their shoulder, if you will — now that Brady is back under center, Bennett delivered the line of the day.
“(NFL commissioner Roger) Goodell looks like a Pringle guy,” Bennett said. “I don’t consider those chips.”
Thumbnail photo via Greg M. Cooper/USA TODAY Sports Images