DENVER — Martellus Bennett truly is a unicorn. There’s absolutely no one else in the world like the New England Patriots tight end.
Case in point: His saga — from injuring his shoulder, wanting surgery and being waived by the Green Bay Packers to getting claimed and playing three days later for the Patriots — couldn’t happen to anyone else.
Bennett played just seven snaps in New England’s 41-16 win over the Denver Broncos, finishing with three catches for 38 yards.
But how exactly did he even get to Denver?
Let’s begin with why Bennett felt he could play with the Patriots despite wanting surgery as a member of the Packers, because he failed to fully explain that in his now-infamous Instagram rant. He said nothing changed from Wednesday to Sunday.
“It’s not about ‘could you play,’ it’s ‘should you play,'” Bennett said after the game. “It’s one of those things. Right now, I’m just like, (expletive) it. When (Patriots head coach Bill Belichick) called me after they claimed me, first I told my agent to tell no teams to claim me because I was still trying to get the surgery or whatever.
“When Bill called and said they claimed me, I was like, ‘No (expletive) way.’ Then he was like, ‘What’s going on?’ And I told him and we had a quick conversation and I was just like, ‘Let me think about it and I’ll call you back.’
“Even then, it wasn’t like, ‘Hey, you want to come?’ It was like, ‘Let me just call you back in a few minutes. Give me a chance to think about it and regroup.’ Because I don’t even know if I went through the seven stages of grief yet. I’m probably on step 3. I think the group of guys on this team — with what I’m going through right now, this situation, it couldn’t be a better place for me, all the familiar faces and friends and things like that. It’s been good to have those guys around.'”
So, why did he feel like he shouldn’t play with the Packers?
“It wasn’t where I was, it was just about the injury,” Bennett said. “It was like one of those things, I talked to six or seven doctors about it and it could go either way. It was like one of those things I felt I should get fixed. And then after trying to get it fixed and getting waived, you just get that vengeance in your heart. It’s just like, ‘All right, that’s how you’re going to do it, then (expletive) it. Let’s go ball.'”
Bennett said he had “several calls with several different teams” wanting to work him out after he was waived by the Packers.
Bennett described it as a “surreal” week. He went from thinking he was going to “work a desk job” and having calls with Netflix and TV networks to being back on the field. Even his journey to the practice field Friday was an epic.
“When I got here, I landed at 2:30 (a.m.), got to the hotel,” Bennett said. “Had to be back at the facility at 5:45 (a.m.) and then Bill’s like, ‘Can you practice?’
“I was like, ‘Bill, I just want to go to sleep right now.’
“‘Oh, it’s a Friday, you know? Just go and get some snaps.’
“And then I’m like — I think he knows how to talk to me too, so I’m like, ‘All right, I’ll go out there.’ Next thing you know I’m back on the plane five hours to Denver and it was just like, yeah, Colorado’s nice.”
Bennett received some (possibly deserved) criticism on his way out of Green Bay, but the tight end is used to that.
“I got criticism from all of my former organizations, so (expletive), at some point it’s like I’m rubber and you’re glue, anything you say bounces off of me and sticks to you,” Bennett said. “At this point, there’s not anything anyone else can say to me in my career that can make me feel any way toward myself, because the team that I’ll always have is my wife and my daughter. They’re always rooting for me no matter what. I may wear different jerseys, but I’m still the same man with my family, so that’s all that really matters. But like I told the guys, in order for the phoenix to be reborn, he must first turn to ashes.”
Bennett wouldn’t confirm if he still plans to retire after the season. He’s signed with the Patriots through 2019.
What a week.
Thumbnail photo via Ron Chenoy/USA TODAY Sports Images
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