Those hoping to get Bill Belichick’s take on the Martellus Bennett situation were sorely disappointed.
In a surprise move, the Green Bay Packers on Wednesday waived Bennett, who was just a few months into a three-year, $21 million contract.
Bennett was a productive tight end for the Super Bowl-winning New England Patriots last season, prompting immediate speculation that he might wind up back in Foxboro, a la LeGarrette Blount in 2014.
Belichick, however, wasn’t about to fuel those flames. The Patriots coach shot down a general question about Bennett during his Thursday morning news conference.
“I think I?ve spoken about that numerous times last year,” Belichick told reporters, turning to Patriots media relations boss Stacey James. “Stacey, I?m sure we have transcripts of that. I can?t imagine (we don?t). I must be on the record talking about him 100 times.”
Maybe not quite 100, but Belichick did praise Bennett plenty last season, often complimenting his toughness and competitiveness. Bennett battled through several injuries to play in all 19 games for the Patriots, catching 66 passes for 799 yards and seven touchdowns and serving as New England’s No. 1 tight end after Rob Gronkowski was lost for the season in early December.
A health-related incident ultimately ended Bennett’s brief tenure in Green Bay, as the Packers waived him with a “failure to disclose physical condition” designation. He played in seven games with the Packers, catching 24 passes for 233 yards and zero touchdowns.
The Patriots have gotten next to nothing from their backup tight ends this season, as Dwayne Allen, Bennett’s de facto replacement, still is looking for his first reception. Third tight end Jacob Hollister has three catches for 37 yards in his first NFL season.
Per NFL rules, Bennett must pass through waivers before becoming a free agent, and since the Patriots have one of the league’s best records at 6-2, most teams would have priority over them.
Thumbnail photo via Scott R. Galvin/USA TODAY Sports Images