ALLEN PARK, Mich. — Including three days of minicamp and subtracting four he had to stay in Hawaii to tend to a family matter, Michael Bennett has been around the New England Patriots for just 13 days.
But that’s all it took for Bennett, who’s entering his 11th NFL season, to have a new outlook on life from a message he learned from head coach Bill Belichick.
“I think the thing I learned about most from Belichick and the whole organization is not to complain, to adjust,” Bennett said Tuesday. “I think that’s the thing I take not just to football but to my whole life. Just adjusting to situations, adjusting to parenting, adjusting to your wife. Just adjusting and not complaining. Being able to move forward and take situations as they are, take life how it is and keep moving.”
When Bennett was traded by the Philadelphia Eagles along with a seventh-round to the Patriots for a fifth-round pick, he was most excited to get acquainted with quarterback Tom Brady. Bennett’s brother, tight end Martellus, got close with TB12 as a member of the Patriots in 2016.
“I think the thing I was thinking about, for me, when I had the opportunity to come here, I kind of just wanted to play with and get to know Tom Brady,” Bennett said “Just as far as like, what he does to keep playing in the league for a long time, how does he take his approach? I think that was like one of the biggest factors for me in coming here too.”
So, what has he learned so far?
“Everything,” Bennett said. “Just the preparation.”
Bennett figures to play a major role in the Patriots’ defense this season, though he doesn’t know what exactly that will be. The 6-foot-4, 274-pound defensive lineman mostly has played an interior role in training camp. He’ll likely play as a five-technique defensive end in the Patriots’ base defense and as an interior rusher on third down. He’s down for anything, though.
“I’m just the new guy learning and fitting in,” Bennett said. “I think, for me, what I want to do is earn my teammates’ respect. I know that I’ve done a lot in the league but this time I’m on a new team, so I’m just trying to earn my team’s respect, the coaches’ respect and that’s it. I think when you do that — that’s all I’ve been trying to do really.
“I’m just trying to do what I can to learn as fast as I can. But the experience overall has been pretty good. Everything’s first class as far as traveling, the way the staff takes care of you. It’s been a pretty good experience.
Of course, he probably knew that from his brother’s experience in New England. And though it might sound cliche, Bennett did ask his brother what life was like in New England after being traded to the Patriots.
“You do have that conversation,” Bennett said. “I think the thing I asked my brother is how was the team. He said everybody’s down to earth. I think that’s what really great winning is, is camaraderie. How is the team?
“At the end of the day, every NFL team has great players. Every team has an Odell Beckham, they have some go-to guy, they have a great rusher, a good linebacker, a great quarterback. It comes down to the camaraderie of the team and how people jell together and do they buy into the man next to them. I think that’s the thing that I took away from my brother.”